|Abdul Fattah Ismail|
As part of the AdVision awards, Global Advertising Strategies organized today’s panel, Going Viral, Going Global: Harnessing Social Media. Blueliner CEO Arman Rousta is joined on the panel by moderator Craig Kanalley from Huffington Post, Ed Spiegel of RentMineOnline.com, Scott Cherkin of Travel Ad Network, Daniel Luxemburg from SnapDragon Consultants, and Toby Daniels of the Paley Center for Media.
As the panelists introduce themselves and their backgrounds, we see a wide range of digital professionals, all talking about how businesses can not only be involved in social media, but make money as well.
Social Media landscape: Where should you be?
Toby Daniels recommends ignoring the moderator’s image. Says it’s too confusing and you should focus on customers and what they’re saying. Don’t worry about the specific sites just yet.
Arman Rousta says companies should integrate their social presences into their sites and customer relations efforts first.
Daniel Luxemburg brings up a very real concern. What if no one is talking about your brand?
Scott Cherkin says travel sites shouldn’t push deals out through Twitter. Agree?
Great question from the audience. “All this touchy feely stuff is great, but the client wants to know what are the metrics? What value does this offer?”
Ed Spiegel talks about how his company RentMineOnline.com drives ROI through peer recommendations.
Cherkin says, “I don’t believe social media will always be based on ROI. I think this is about brand building, not as much about a CTR.” “We’re seeing Facebook as one of our top traffic drivers, right under Google.”
New question! How do you measure success with social media?
Spiegel – We measure success on conversions and ROI.
Rousta says metrics are more akin to PR. Each social site has it’s own set of metrics. You need to build awareness in these areas to drive conversions in the future.
Daniels talks about Pepsi pulling ad spend from the Super Bowl and launching Pepsi Refresh. Investing in ideas and social movements instead of ad spend. They have no idea how they’re going to measure this and they’re ok with it.
Cherkin talks about the opportunity to move share above the bottom of the funnel. Brings in example from Travel Ad Network about reaching people in the research phase, not just targeting people on Google. Measuring success needs to be how many people ended up buying, not just how many fans and comments.
Luxemburg makes a really interesting point about how many conversations and WOM about businesses happens in private that companies can’t see. How to you incorporate that?
Question from the audience? Should you charge users to use social media?
Daniels uses Craigslist as an example. It’s successful because it’s frictionless for people to use. Super simple, incredibly effective, and free. It starts with focusing on fixing a problem before focusing on a business model. Also talks about how display ads will be a small percentage of the future of the online economy.
Cherkin makes a good point, “Finding people who really want to engage in your brand is hard.” I guess it really depends on who and what your brand is.
Luxemborg talks about technology (aka Facebook Connect) breaking down barriers, reducing friction and allowing people to easily join new branded networks.
Kanalley: If it’s difficult to build your own social network. Huffington post uses Facebook Connect to build community 16% of all comments are through Facebook Connect.
Daniels brings up social graph optimization. Says optimizing people’s social graphs will be huge in the near future.
Rousta talks about social search. Google displays results from your social network. Talks about Twitter’s upcoming advertising platform.
Spiegel is giving a run through of his company to highlight how social lead generation can work and how his company is utilizing the social graph to generate business.
Good question from Cherkin. Do you worry about backlash from people getting paid to promote the products like what happened with Pay Per Post? An equally well thought-out answer from Spiegel. People aren’t getting paid to promote something they’ve never used. This is basically the same thing as receiving a referral fee for bringing in a friend to rent an apartment in your building, which is the same program that has existed for years.
New question for the panel. Let’s talk about money. How do you make money in social?
Rousta brings up the Dell example of over $3 million in sales from Twitter. Also brings up the great example of the Red Cross using social and mobile to raise funds.
Luxemburg talks about mobile social and how big of an opportunity exists there. Geolocation is huge and will continue to grow.
Really interesting point from the audience. US is incredibly behind when it comes to mobile. People in Europe are paying for parking and shopping with their phones. “Our phones are our wallets. I can’t believe how far behind the US is.”
OK, the moderator lets us know that we’re now out of time. Check back next week for video of the panel. Thanks for reading.