Social Media – Managing Conversations

Zappos Brian Kalma
Zappos' Brian Kalma

SES San Jose 2009 Review:
Social Media – Managing Conversations & Reputations When the User is in Control

After being jammed into the small conference room for the Google session: Analytics & Website Optmizer, I quickly exited before it even got started. Instead I wandered into the Social Media presentation down the hall. I was happy I did, as the session was full of great take-aways.

Dave Evan, VP of Digital Voodoo started off by giving us stats about peer trust being at about 30% while advertising trust was at about 10%. He mentioned these numbers have not changed over 30 years only that the internet is making this information now readily available. Dave also shared a graph illustrating that although older people are not participating in social media they in deed are watching it.

Liana Evans focused on the need to create a strategy for your social media campaign and how to monitor and measure success. She had a great response to an attendee who asked whether businesses who were afraid of negative press should stay away from social media: “the conversation goes on with or without you”.

Mike Volpe from Hubspot mentioned the following:

  • Think like a publisher instead of an advertiser
  • Successful sites should receive about the same amount of traffic from search engines as social media sites
  • Define social media goals the same way you would for search
  • Search/Content/Social: you have to be doing all of them and they need to be working together

The last presenter was Zappos’ Brian Kalma. Brian did a great job of presenting specific examples of how they took a social media campaign to the next level. Adding, good culture and training are the keys to a successful social media campaign. Zappo boosts over 400 employees as active Tweeters.

Some other noteworthy concepts Brian mentions include:

  • Customers want to engage when they want to
  • Nurture it, don’t plan it
  • Be smart, be real, talk
  • If they say something negative say something positive
  • Proceed with caution–sell but don’t oversell
  • Your culture is your voice
  • Leave clues–getting people wondering and waiting for your next piece of communication
  • Example of thinking outside the box: Zappos syndicate what people are saying about Van’s shoes on Twitter

Other key take-aways from the panel:

  • Abide by “Blogger Code of Ethics”
  • Do like Dell: identify you are ‘BobFromDell’ on Twitter (be transparent)
  • Listen and learn what the customer wants
  • People will talk about your companies operational procedures, not its marketing
  • Define and identify a strategy
  • Monitor (ex: Radian6)
  • Diversify with multiple sites because they could be gone tomorrow or become ineffective instantly

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