Well I am back and my brain is full. This week was the Inbound Marketing Summit at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. More than 50 presentations and a few hundred really smart people in the same room. Energy was great, conversations in the hallway were inspiring, food was good and Jenika and I have lots of ideas and notes to shuffle through.
What I want to do here is tell you about MY top 5 presentations that we saw over the last few days. These are in no particular order and I am sure other attendees had their own favorites, but these were mine. The ones I took the most notes at, was inspired by and ones that gave me some pieces of information I want to learn more about.
Top 5 #IMS10 Presentations
- Battlefield PR – How the US Air Force Empowers Communicators, Captain Nathan Broshear
We here at Hall work primarily in the B2B space. It is a protected space and one of the biggest concerns with letting employees participate in social media is the fear that they will in some way tarnish the brand’s reputation.
Few people have more concern on privacy and reputation than the US Military. Captain Nathan Broshear delivered a powerful presentation on how the US Air Force is using social media to tell their story. He told us how even the best PR team in the world cannot convey the message of the work the US Air Force does better than those that are on the front lines.
Military personnel have access to their Facebook accounts while they serve. When met with opposition Captain Broshear responded with “You trust a 20 year old kid with a $50 million airplane but you don’t trust him with a Facebook page?!?” Point taken. The best defense you can have against a PR nightmare online is to diligently train anyone who is going to use a social networking site on best practices and how and why you are conveying your message the way you are.
Broshear also talked about the importance of relationships. Most businesses only reach out to press and PR when they are pimping themselves out or when something has gone wrong. We should focus more on cultivating relationships day-to-day and not just when we need something.
For more about how the US Air Force is using social media you should check out some of their powerful videos on YouTube, check out their Facebook page, follow them on Twitter (@usairforce) and check out some cool information David Meerman Scott has posted about them.
- The Science of Search Engine Rankings, Rand Fishkin
Any of you who know me and my work know that I LOVE numbers and data – Rand Fishkin (@randfish) did NOT disappoint! I don’t know if it was because SEO is a off shoot of Social Media but Rand’s presentation was one of the most talked about in the hallways. Everyone seemed to learn something from him in this presentation. You may know Rand better as the SEOmoz guy and those folks do data! Our in-house “search nerds” are big SEOmoz fans.
Some interesting points I got from him:
- Only 9% of users are using Firefox (or any other) Google toolbar. That means over 90% of users go to Google.com when they want to search something.
- Google Instant caused quite a stir when it was launched but it really has done little to effect anyone’s searches.
- SEO isn’t quite rocket science – but it is pretty close.
- The Real Business of Community, Amber Naslund
Amber Naslund, of Radian6, seems to be the pioneer of the title ‘Community Manager’. She takes her work seriously. She isn’t fluffy about it. She takes an analytical approach to managing a company’s community and it is refreshing.
Some key takeaways from Amber’s presentation:
- Community management, if done well, should be a part of everyone’s job inside an organization.
- You community manager should NOT be plopped down behind a computer. They should be meeting people in person, going to conferences, making phone calls etc.
- Personal and professional lines are getting blurry online and we need to get used to it.
- Being a community manager does not mean being a ‘social media rock star’.
- Amber does not spend all day on Twitter (see image to right).
- Community managers are a tool for sales people. They need to build a system sales and customer service can build from.
- Spend more time cultivating your existing community, they will spread your message for you to new people.
For more information about community management check out Radian6’s Community Management Playbook [PDF]. Also, you should read Amber’s own recap of her IMS presentation. Another great takeaway about being ourselves and standing for things in business.
- How to Calculate the ROI of Social Marketing, Paul Gillin
Paul Gillin (@pgillin) had the tough job of closing the Inbound Marketing Summit. Again, as a numbers nerd, he did not disappoint. One of the biggest trends this year has been attempting to calculate the ROI of social media. Many are afraid to try, primarily because it takes a little work but Paul Gillin broke it down for us. To avoid doing any damage to his presentation, I have decided just to embed the presentation below.
- Engagement 2.0, Scott Stratten
Scott Stratten of UnMarketing (@unmarketing) closed out the first day at IMS. If this whole marketing thing doesn’t work out, he has a pretty good shot at a stand-up comedian gig. His presentation was real, funny and smart. The whole conference paused when he spoke. Exhibitors left their booths, everyone stopped side conversations and even event employees stopped what they were doing to listen.
Scott also has a new book out, UnMarketing. I know it is on my list to pick up next week.
Here are some of the most ‘tweetable’ moments of Scott’s presentation:
- Social media tools do not change that relationships take time. We can’t jump right in with ‘the ask’ first.
- When we are met with social media opposition that we ‘always have done marketing this way’, remind them that this is because that is all we had. Now we have new, free tools to connect with people. Why are we so scared to use them?
- Social media is not a new way to do your crappy outbound marketing. It is a new way to form relationships and connect with people who may be interested in you or your products and services.
- We need to be remarkable if we want people to share our message for us. People don’t spread ‘meh’ or ‘just ok’ they spread unique, helpful content.
- When you find yourself facing an internet troll, think before you respond. Who will win if you publicly fight back? Sometimes it is best to just ignore.
- Scott can’t keep his 90’s boy bands straight.
Thanks to the Pulse Network, Scott’s whole presentation is available for you to view. I really think it will be worth your time!
Greg Cangialosi of Blue Sky Factory is always a great presentation to check out. I have seen him a few times and each time I get a few little actionable items I want to try when I get back. Greg talked about hyper-listening to your audience to find peak times to send out email newsletters, being very clear with people what they will get when they subscribe to your newsletter and how to make your newsletter content ready for social sharing features.
Valeria Maltoni from Conversation Agent and Powered is a powerful, energetic female speaker. Her ideas are refreshing and I always have a few ‘a ha’ moments when she takes the stage. She said her slides will be on slideshare soon. When they are, I will update this post with them.
Dharmesh Shaw of Hubspot and co-author of Inbound Marketing is a smart guy. He is a developer at heart that just ‘gets’ this social media piece too. The biggest takeaway I got from him was on content creation for your company. We need to feed our readers and consumers information that will make them better at what they do. His example was if you make cameras, you don’t put out content about cameras, you put out information that will make your subscribers better photographers.
For More Information on Inbound Marketing Summit
Thank you Justin Levy, Chris Brogan and the team at New Marketing Labs for a great event.