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A dozen gems from Digital in Kent

April, 2013

Leaders from the UK’s digital industry, experts in SEO, PPC and social media were all at the first Digital in Kent conference, which took place at the Quarterhouse in Folkestone on 17 April.

Speakers included Jonnie Jensen of Live and Social, Thomas Power of LeadORS, Tony Fish, author of My Digital Footprint, Zoe Cairns of ZC Social Media, Luke Quilter of Sleeping Giant Media and Josh Whiten of Webscape Marketing.

Rachel Knight, account director at Maxim, shares her thoughts on some of the points that were made during the day.

1. “Building a community of followers is very, very difficult.”

It is such a relief to hear someone so knowledgeable say this. It’s not easy – it takes time and effort but the results can be very satisfying. Don’t give up if your social media doesn’t take off immediately. Even the experts say it’s difficult.

2. “Remarkable businesses have something to say. If you don’t have anything to talk about then there’s something wrong with the business itself.”

I’ve never heard this put so well before. When I talk to businesses about social media one of the questions I get asked most frequently is ‘what shall I say?’. I’ve often thought to myself ‘how can you not have something to say?’. Every good business should have things to talk about. If you haven’t then you need to look at your culture rather than worry about your social media activities. The same applies to media relations.

3. “Business as usual is killing business. Businesses must adapt and utilise the power of social business.”

A great example was used to illustrate this point. If you put a frog in water and slowly boil it, it will die. If you put a frog in boiling water it will jump straight out again. If you don’t adapt now, you won’t even notice that your business is dying.

4. “We are not in an age of interruption but one of engagement.”

I like this quote a lot. The point was made that we have always been social creatures. Knowledge used to be gained by people telling stories, then books became popular and we began to learn in a more linear fashion. Now we are becoming much more social again, sharing content and recommending it to our friends.

5. “Social media is about forming relationships that create desire and lead to a sale.”

Another question I get asked a lot (even during the conference) is ‘have you won business through social media?’. The simple answer is no. That’s because it isn’t a sales tool. What we have done is built relationships, discovered new information and found opportunities that wouldn’t have existed if we didn’t have active social networks.

6. “Community is not a profit and loss item, it’s a goodwill asset on the balance sheet that influences share price.”

This a great quote to share with a company’s financial director – the one who’s looking at the time that employees are spending on social and wondering if it’s paying off. The same could be said of investing in media relations.

7. “Engaging in conversation always wins over broadcast.”

Not news to me fortunately but again, it’s good to have it confirmed. There are still people who believe that broadcasting a sales message twice a week will win them business. It definitely won’t.

8. “People look for leadership. If the business leader doesn't support and participate the rest of the team won't either.”

This is such an important point but a difficult one. The business leader is likely to be the one who is worrying about the balance sheet. Show them the difference that social can make – get them involved.

9. “Embrace the negative comments as an opportunity to shine.”

Some companies are scared of receiving negative feedback but it is an opportunity to show people that you can respond appropriately and take action. Do it right and they’ll tell their friends.

10. “Great content stays great content.”

The point here is that content never goes away – it can be shared by you, or the army of ‘raving fans’ you’ve built, again and again (just not too frequently).

11. “Google+ is a must. Trends show that it will be hitting big next year, so don't get left behind.”

I’ve known that Google+ was important for a while but didn’t realise quite what a difference it makes to search engine rankings. I’m now determined to make more use of our profile and connect with like-minded people.

12. “Transform ‘noise’ into ‘signals’. For example, the ‘I’m late for the train’ tweet that can be useful data. Use it to delay the meeting and delight your customer.”

The social sceptics (usually those who have never used it) will often talk about Twitter especially as being ‘just people talking about their lunch’. It’s not, of course, but even the updates that can appear mundane are useful data. Learn to differentiate between noise and signals.

Inspired? I was – as was the rest of the audience. A great first event and by the sounds of it, there will be more. Looking forward to the next one already.

Rachel Knight - Director

Rachel Knight

Maxim / Director

posted in: advice, digital, marketing, social media,

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