Attended on the 26 March 2014 the Digital in Kent Conference at the Orchards, East Malling. The venue hosted a prolific number of impressive speakers each imparting their views on social media and search engine marketing. The overriding argument that emerged was how social media needs to be firmly on the agenda of everyone - regardless of industry background and size of organisation. I’ve detailed below just some of the highlights and the picture that emerged.
First to speak was Thomas Power of Scredible. Thomas' insights were invaluable and his clearly worked examples suggested that there is a culture within certain organisations whereby social media is ignored - not based upon the belief that it offers little or no value - but because individuals (particularly at board level) have little working knowledge and perception of its value.
Thomas quoted at both the beginning and end of his presentation that most executives ‘hate social media but want to look good online’. How much is that a true reflection of many of us? How many of us aspire and envy those people who can generate a huge number of retweets? Would you like to be that evangelist who imparts the knowledge so many crave?
Thomas' advice was that it's not impossible to get social media exposure - it's achievable with good old fashioned self-discipline and acceptance that social media platforms are here to stay.
Here at mso our take on it is this: to ignore the value of a well crafted Facebook post, Tweet or blog is madness - we're missing a trick if we can’t reinforce brand awareness by these mediums.
A workshop led by Zoe Cairns of ZC Social Media entitled ‘3 steps to become an influencer online’ detailed clear and concise guidance. Zoe explained various approaches and I particularly liked her analogy of Facebook, Twitter and Linked In. Zoe gave us Primark, Dorothy Perkins and Harrods as the retail equivalent. As she said, the tone of each gives you an indication as to your customer base - you have to adapt your tone accordingly.
Josh Whiten of Webscape Marketing gave us a great insight into Google + and how important it is to get your blog articles published and in the public domain. Google+ authorship is a vital addition to your social media strategy; continually contributing to a blog will help you get that all important Google ranking.
We had some quick sprint speakers too but Tamsin Fox-Davies of Constant Contact caught my attention mid-afternoon and gave a great presentation - so many good points were made. She spectacularly got her ideas across - it's all about engagement – vitally important that we relate to customers and listen.
There was plenty of chance to speak to other attendees and gauge the general consensus regarding social media. People are far too wary of social media than they need to be - just view it as part of your marketing mix. Having listened to Catherine Flint of Facebook only a few weeks ago at the TFM&A 2014, her overriding message was to forget social media and engage in virtual customer interaction. If you adopt that mantra, the prospect of posting becomes far less intimidating. It's about understanding, reaching out and communicating with your audience. Not rocket science but we all want and expect a personal approach. If you give a little bit of yourself, you reap the rewards.
All in all, a well-organised, invaluable event. Thanks to everyone at Digital in Kent and I will be most definitely going to the next one.
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