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San Diego Social Media Symposium: It’s About Being Strategic

Each year, I’m excited when the San Diego Social Media Symposium (SDSMS) comes around. It’s a great time to get together with my peers and learn about the ever-changing world of social media.

While listening to the dialog on compelling brand content, online reputation management or word-of-mouth marketing, there was an overriding theme throughout the day. A brand/company needs to be authentic and strategic in their online efforts and even ask if having a social media presence is necessary. At NST, helping our clients strategically think through their own situation is at the core of our firm’s being, so it was wonderful to hear others share our philosophy.

The day kicked off with an insightful presentation from @JasonFalls who discussed the seven business drivers of social media marketing and ways to measure your social media ROI. He presented excellent case studies that reinforced how focusing on those business drivers will allow brands to ultimately drive sales and how to attribute those sales to social media efforts.

Other insights from @JasonFalls:

  • Never measure brand awareness in dollars. Measure in interest (i.e. conversations, engagement).
  • Social media allows brands to protect reputation by speaking directly to consumers and brand ambassadors.
  • Social media marketing is an extension of public relations and belongs with that scope of work.
  • Build communities around the topic and not the product or business.
  • You can perform customer service for free by using social media—spend time not money with your customers.
  • Build a following and then market research is almost free using social media.
  • Social media marketing can allow small business to engage in research and development at a low or no cost.
  • Goals, objectives, strategies, tactics and execution are needed to implement social media marketing efforts.
  • What does social mean? You need to be at the table and a member of the community.
  • Don’t tell me you are on Facebook or Twitter, tell me why I should follow you.
  • People buy from people they know, like and trust. If you provide good value, people will like you and over time will trust you.

Other takeaways from the panelists:

  • Create a handshake with consumers and drive them to other products/brand/content. Laura Naviaux, @Sonyonline
  • Be unique to your brand and don’t go with off the shelf solutions. Seth Silver, @wecontrol
  • Social media is a marathon and not a sprint. Laura Naviaux, Sony
  • It all starts with strategy. It’s the same process to make a site sticky. Map out the entire user experience and test it. Seth Silver, Social Control
  • Recognize that crisis communication issues are going to end up on social media. Don’t ignore it; redirect it to internally monitored sites. Laura Naviaux, Sony
  • Only follow personal, unique interactions and not automated tweets. @EdwardLewisASR
  • We are about to enter a new era based on the Internet and mobile and it’s going to be big. Follow the change and don’t panic. @GaryKim
  • Trust is an important word in everything we do now. Gary Kim, Mobile Marketing & Technology
  • A major pitfall is to have a cookie cutter response for positive and negative feedback. Lack of authenticity is the first red flag for your customers. @GQCarpenter @HiltonBayfront
  • From the smallest company to the largest, everyone should have a crisis communications plan in place. @AprilBolduc @sdge
  • Offline relationships can lead to online success. The key is relationships and having something to share. @realtordotcom @movetrends
  • Before engaging in social media, listen and decide which conversations to engage. Then prepare procedures and policies on how to respond. Paige Perdue @originalWD40
  • Voice is important. You should know who we are by reading the information and not having to see our logo. @Bcupham @FijiWater

For more on SDSMS, download the tweets at

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