Social Media Summit

Good morning 😉 I am just back from our International Search Summit focusing on Social Media. And, I have to say, it was a great event.

I don’t really have to say that but thought that WebCertain put on a great summit with high calibre speakers. Let me re-cap:

Anne Kennedy from Beyond Ink discussed Facebook once again. She highlighted some key facts and shows that Facebook is a global player for social media. However, do not forget there are some other local networks out there that take on market share and are bigger than Facebook. More about that later. Anne’s research is great and I had ongoing discussions with her afterwards on how to use Facebook with applications and then roll them out worldwide.

Jenny Simpson spoke about Opportunities and Threats for Marketers through Twitter. She had a rather critical view on what Twitter is all about and how it can be used. I remember my first Twitter recap back in January. I understand why people like it, and I add new followers everyday. However, it could just be another hype and, as Jenny pointed out, do not put all your eggs in one basket, do not ONLY rely on Twitter. Surely the advantage is that Twitter offers real time search results and that people recommend things. And, if they are genuine, you get a new engagement with your clients (as a brand) and you are able to turn negative feedback into customer service and positive branding.

The 2nd part of the Summit was about Opportunities for Bebo and AOL. It was a nice presentation to show how to integrate different products. Unfortunately, I didn’t take too much out of it. However, Regina Bustamante of Plaxo spoke about the right localisation and translation, the adoption of local culture to grow an international network. Plaxo is catching up on that and for a small company they have made a huge progress on their internationalisation efforts. I believe we will see more from them in the future. I have been using Plaxo for over 5 years and have to say that I might not see it so much as a social network (definition social network?) but more of “backup tool for my outlook”. However, a very very useful tool.

Peter Crosby fromViadeo spoke about the approach they are taking. As a French company they created local networks in major countries: Germany, France, Spain, Italy, UK, Mexico, India….and they are growing. Connect on a local level is their idea, and I was encouraged to sign up for their network. We shall see, if I do – I will let you know what I think. Any incentives Peter 😉

Unfortunately I missed the panel debate but what followed in the afternoon was very interesting, particular for bloggers.
Vasco Sommer-Nunes from Mokono, maybe better known for their blog.xy sites, e.g. Blogs in Germany, he pointed out how to monetise blogging. Followed by Sante who spoke about international blogging and later Massimo Burgio who spoke about Social Media Marketing and Blogging.

Highlights, from my point of view were Alex Burmaster’s presentation on the key trends of riding the wave of social networking! Coming from Nielsen he presented data that was just amazing. You can download some reports on their website and I will posts links as I get them. However, one fact stuck out to me and that was that more and more older people, age 60+ are joining Facebook in the US. That means we will have a similar pattern in the UK soon, then across Europe. Brands should start thinking on how to cater for these demographics and start building applications. We already discussed first ideas!

Then there was Tom Smith from Trendstream. His presentation can be found on Slideshare already. He spoke about the International Social Media Trends, warning about neglecting the amount of Chinese people in local networks that by far growing quicker than Facebook. So our Western answers on Facebook might not be able to be applied to the Asian Market. Similar things are true for Russia. So it is not all about Facebook (sorry Anne ;-)) but for brands a lot about “where to I find my target demographics in which country” – and the Chinese platform seems to make a profit too.

Oscar Carreras spoke about what I would call “Inbound Marketing“. However, his Social Media Optimisation and his knowledge of SEO paired of the understanding on how to utilise social networks as well as using them to engage with your clients was very fascinating. His blog on International SEO picks up on these topics too.

Last but not least was Martin Belam from the Guardian. Whilst there is a hot discussion on how publishers and newspapers can or cannot survive with more and more content being available for free, he pointed out ways on how to use social media to drive traffic to your site. Again, I believe that the overall topic of driving traffic is great but what do we do with the traffic once it is on our site?

The overall summary for me is that we have our networks we use in the Western World, namely Plaxo, Linkedin, Facebook etc. and that we seem to neglect some international networks which we shouldn’t. Also, we see Twitter as a great way of broadcasting news and company information. Again, we drive traffic to our site but the conversion and the monetization of the traffic is still something we need to solve. As so often in the online world: we have the data, but we are not quite sure how to use it.

Stay tuned.