Social Fresh Highlights for Fellow B2B Public Relations Pros

On Monday, I attended the Social Fresh conference in St. Louis. I had the benefit of hearing from some of the masters of social media – Jason Falls, Jay Baer, Amber Naslund, Chris Penn, Mark Roberge and Sarah Evans to name a few. The phrase “I’m not worthy” comes to mind!!

I left exhausted, but invigorated. There is so much opportunity, and not enough time in the day! I thought I’d share some of my key take-aways and perhaps provide some inspiration and useful tips for others who weren’t in the room.

My top-line take-aways from the conference:

  • Strategy, strategy, strategy. Wipe out “tools” from conversations until you have a real social media strategy.
  • Is your target audience/buyer participating in social media?  Where? Focus there, not on the “big guys” (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube)
  • ROI – eh.  The real key: identify goals you want to achieve via social media and metrics to support those goals.
  • Ultimately, companies care about one key metric: “how do we sell more stuff?”  At the end of the day, everything you do should support that and work toward measuring it.
  • How do you answer “can you help me establish/grow [fill in the blank social media tool]?” DON’T GET TRAPPED!  Dig for the real concerns – what opportunities are you trying to create? What problems do you want solved?  (thank you, @prsarahevans!)
  • How genuine are your connections? Are you acting on what you’re hearing?
  • Try as you might, there are no easy answers with social media.
  • Must buy an iphone charger that does not require a wall plug-in stat!!


Helpful Links:

  • Social media case studies and stats: Amber Naslund’s delicious page 
  • Social media ROI worksheets from Chris Penn at Blue Sky Factory
  • Stats on inbound marketing and benefits of content creation from Hubspot
  • Free tool Jay Baer recommends for mapping target audience demographics against social technographics: Quantcast Marketer. Why use it? It’s important to understand “who” your audience is (age, gender, etc.), but even more critical to know how they use social media in order to effectively engage.
  • Want to find out where your current customers are participating online? Here’s another free tool Jay Baer recommends: Flowtown. You can upload email addresses and identify the social networks they are on.


Useful nuggets from speakers relevant to B2B pros:

  • We are in the midst of a sociological change to how people make purchasing decisions; but most businesses still put heavy focus on outbound marketing efforts. A poll of the room indicated that few people have made purchases based on direct mail or cold calls, but nearly everyone has made purchase via a link received through email or social media. Inbound leads cost 60% less than outbound leads. @markroberge
  • People care about the soul of an organization. Identify your “thing,” humanize it and make people feel it (i.e., Apple = innovation, Volvo = safety). @jaybaer
  • To be really successful in B2B social media, be waiting in the places where your customers are talking versus making them find you. Know your customer base and their buying cycle. @sbolen
  • Build a social FAQ for customers. What questions do they typically have about your products/services? Develop and share content to address it. @jaybaer
  • Instead of focusing on ROI, the more meaningful question to ask is “what constitutes success?” Assess whether your company is seriously ready to participate. How will you activate people if they do come? @ambercadabra
  • Speak language management can understand when talking about social media. All roads ultimately lead back to “we want people to buy more stuff.” @ambercadabra, @jasonfalls
  • Start dabbling with social media and figure out what works, then talk to management about your social media strategy. @kellydoria
  • You don’t control your brand, but you can help direct the messaging by participating in social media.  @stephenlinn
  • The benefits of blogging:  those companies have 97% more inbound links, 55% more website visitors (Hubspot research). @markroberge
  • Make sure you develop a crisis/action plan for handling negative issues that arise via social media; it will happen. @tbeffs
  • All metrics – including ROI – are meaningless unless you take action on what you learn. @cspenn
  • Titles do not matter when you’re talking about social media; to be successful, the team must have passion for it. @jaybaer

If only I could have split myself in half to attend all of the sessions. I heard great things about the corporate blogging panel, but unfortunately, didn’t attend that one. Anyone with good insight to share from it – leave a comment below!

So, where to begin with all of this today? For me, an immediate “to do”: play around with Flowtown. What a simple way to find out whether your customers are participating in social networks?! Long-term, I’ll work on continuing to have difficult conversations about developing “real” social media goals (that don’t focus on # of eyeballs, fans); I feel armed and ready with new info thanks to yesterday.

What will you put into practice today?

To reach Kellie:

Twitter: @kshe
LinkedIn: Kellie Sheehan