March 29, 2012 - Comments Off on Chris Brogan speaking sense at #SMWF

Chris Brogan speaking sense at #SMWF

This week I went along to Social Media World Forum for the second year running, lured to attend this time by the brilliant Chris Brogan. (Last year it was Brian Solis’ talk that got me excited). I headed to Olympia armed with my trusty companion, ‘Trust Agents‘ – one of the best, most useful books I’ve ever read about working with the web, with the hope of getting it signed by the man himself.

Opening his talk in true, to-the-point style, Chris stated ‘my slides are not as interesting as me so look at me, well if I’m seeing your eyes too much that’s not good either!’ Lightening up the atmosphere to kickstart day 1 in a positive way.

Making the valid point that everyone is in sales, just as everyone is in customer service, PR, HR, reputation management and the rest; ‘if you don’t believe that then you’re my next barista!’ he reminded us that ‘a website that doesn’t have a conversion element isn’t a good site- the best sites know what they want me to do and they get me to do it’.

Even though he also stated that everything he says is ‘steal-enabled’ I prefer to give credit where it’s due!    After all, Chris doesn’t want our money he wants our heads.  Chris made loads of brilliant points in his talk and certainly earned his stripes as a keynote:

  • ‘Face to face matters.’  This is something that I think is not often enough connected to how brands interact on social networks.  I agree with Chris, too, that QR codes are not the answer – ‘how do we blend our physical world experience to online? Video content.’
  • Sort out your mobile website: ‘Look at your website on the mobile screen- the best social network in the world is the mobile phone’  The fact that many websites are not optimised for mobile is mad if you think about how much time people spend on their phones, communicating and socialising with each other. If you don’t have a mobile site it is going to frustrate your potential customer.
  • ‘Email marketing is alive and well, bad email marketing is dead; if you want to stun people with email marketing embrace brevity, and let them reply!’ I know that I don’t appreciate a promotional email from a ‘do not reply’ email address, implying a one way only communication channel so this was a great point to highlight.
  •  Don’t spam a conference hashtag!  This was a gripe I was anticipating as I had seen Chris’ comments on Twitter the day before- he was surprised and disappointed to see what he describes as ’1980s marketing on 2009 technology’.  I think it is strange as well that many were focussing on driving footfall to their stand at #SMWF and not, as Chris pointed out, approaching it with the end goal of building a relationship.
  • ‘Like gates are not a good idea’ Facebook’s DNA are more interested in social interaction so putting up barriers with the view of driving numbers rather than communications is not sociable.
  • Who cares how many views?’  His implication here was it’s working if you’re getting business, more leads than you did before and it isn’t a numbers game!
  • ‘Who should create content? Everybody.’ This became one of the most shared and most popular points from #SMWF and I think this is because it answers a much asked question- who is going to be the one in organisation to do this?  I think that it can been tricky for companies to put this one into practice as they have to conquer the Comms hoops that have been in place for years, but I’m a firm believer in making your people your content champions too and the more the merrier! ‘Business is about belonging’.
  • Get involved in Google+ Why? 1. Google have had a major shake up, are taking social seriously- search plus your world means business. 2. Millions of users.  I think the key here is actually getting on there, building your account/page and starting to talk to people (as Chris stated).  Then don’t wait for the excitement to magically appear:  if you’re not contributing it won’t!
  • ‘Google+ is built around sharing interests, Facebook is built around ex-lovers you didn’t like at high school and rarely produces useful business leads.’  Chris went on to say that the fact the +1 button shows up in search results is really vital, and integration is starting to matter.
  • ‘Facebook is a non-searchable place’ most of the content on Facebook is non-crawlable by Google.
  • ‘I have never talked to a logo at a conference.’  This is because ‘we as humans are trained to look for faces, find like-minded people.  The coolest part of social business is how you listen to them-listening is the best kind of sales.’
  • ‘You are being treated less like a human every day’  As this is the case brands treating people more like humans are going to do better- loyalty isn’t being done right at the moment either, says Chris; ‘I will bother you with more sales’ is what loyal customers are being treated to presently.
The importance of being human, a key theme in Chris’ book, came across very strongly overall.  Chris’ speaking sense set the tone for the rest of the conference too, with being social (i.e. sociable) at the centre of social strategies.
                                                                                                                                                                                Needless to say I was impressed and even more delighted to meet Chris in person after his talk, where he kindly signed my copy of Trust Agents!  I had a brilliant chat with him and I now need to get my hands on a copy of his new Google+ book! He also introduced me toThomas Power so I had a very exciting and interesting start to #SMWF 2012- Thanks chaps for making it special from first thing on day 1!

@clairehs @thomaspower @chrisbrogan Thomas also kindly bought me a coffee while we discussed the finer points of Pinterest, real social networking and what it is to be a ‘thought instigator’ This conversation continued when Andrew Gerrard of LikeMinds joined us (I’ll now be checking out their conference I think as it sounds brilliant from what Andrew described!) and Jonathan Bean from My Newsdesk so all in all it was top of the morning at #SMWF

@jonobean @clairehs @andrewgerrard



@clairehs at SMWF bar