From Battledecks to measuring ROI – PodCamp Boston (#PCB4) was a huge success!

Podcamp Boston 4Recently I attended my first Podcamp in Boston, the birthplace of the original Podcamp, founded by Christopher Penn and Chris Brogan, back in 2006. From the show of hands to find out who else was new to the “UnConference,” I realized that I wasn’t the only newbie – there were actually too many of us to count. If you are unaware of what Podcamp is all about, according to the official Podcamp site, “A PodCamp is a BarCamp-style community UnConference for new media enthusiasts and professionals including bloggers, podcasters, YouTubers, social networkers, and anyone curious about new media.”

I was amazed at the size of the crowd, especially during a weekend conference on one of the nicest days of the summer. It was a wonderfully diverse audience but despite this diversity, the common theme joining us together was our passion to learn – from the sessions and, of course, from one another.

If you weren’t able to attend, don’t fret. CC_Chapman put together this awesome slideshow that includes some great shots from the entire weekend. See anyone you know?

Aside from the hilarious Battledecks and Pecha Kucha session led by Gradon Tripp – where he shares with us the 24 reasons why Twitter sucks – I wanted to highlight the “False Metrics and ROI” session led by Leslie Poston.

During one part of her session, Leslie stressed the importance of first listening to your customers because they are talking about you. If you don’t currently have a social media strategy in place to listen to what your customers and the industry are saying about your business, then you could potentially be dealing with a big PR nightmare like the one that happened with Domino’s Pizza, where a few employees decided it would be fun to post a video on YouTube as they “tampered” with the food. After only two days, that little video was viewed more than 550,000 times, potentially damaging the 50-year-old brand that Domino’s has worked so hard to build. Luckily, Domino’s was watching and listening, and they were able to take action immediately.

But not all companies are as social media savvy….at least not yet.

For example, we can’t discuss listening and not bring up the United Airlines situation where they mistreated musician David Carroll’s equipment while he watched helplessly from his seat on the plane. After trying to resolve the issue privately, which proved ineffective, David decided to create his own music video about what happened and posted it to YouTube. That video went on to receive almost five million views and tons of online buzz. Finally, after more than a year of disputes, United finally admitted they were in the wrong and decided to compensate David for his damaged equipment – A little too late in my opinion.

Listening to online conversations doesn’t have to be difficult. As Leslie pointed out, there are several online tools (both paid and free) available to help any organization do a better job of listening to online chatter. These tools are designed to make social media participation easier and more streamlined, as well as help companies do a better job in monitoring and managing their online presence. Some of the tools she highlighted include:

  • Radian6 (paid)
  • BlvdStatus.com (free, offers campaigns)
  • Google Alerts (free, keyword based, boolean search terms to help you narrow)
  • Google Analytics (free, fully customizable)
  • DNA13 (Paid, encompasses print and web)
  • HaveAMint (free, fully programmable in php)

If you aren’t currently using some of these tools above, you may be doing more work than you should. Don’t miss out on valuable discussions – both positive, which you’ll want to elevate – and, as in the cases outlined above – some negative, which you’ll want to address as soon as possible

If you are interested in seeing Leslie’s Podcamp session for yourself, you can view it in two parts below:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Overall, PodCamp Boston was an amazing experience and it will definitely not be my last. In fact, there are plans in the works to bring the first PodCamp to New Hampshire and I am proud and very excited to be on the planning committee for that event. If you haven’t been, be sure to find one in your area and go. I guarantee a quick ROI on your very small investment!

Photo credit: Elizabeth Thomsen

Social CRM Rocks

Chris Brogan Social CRM RockstarYou have to admit that we social media types really like to rock out. At the recent Rockstars of Social CRM event hosted by Chris Brogan and produced by Radian6, some of the “rockstars” of CRM were definitely in the house including Frank Eliason of @ComcastCares. What we learned, or I should say, what we were reminded of, is that customer service comes down to basics – connecting with your customers.

But now it’s called “Social CRM” which was defined by the Rock Star Panelists as a return to basics. The philosophy is good relationships = good sales.

This is not a new concept. Back in the days before Sprawlmarts, we had what some lovingly referred to as “The Mom and Pop shops” where the owner actually knew his customers and interacted with them personally. This resulted in customer loyalty and repeat business. My family has owned and operated its own party & novelty store, Ballard’s, for the past 30 years. My father still greets his customers and helps each and every one of them personally – you can’t get that at a big box store anymore.

While we are getting down to basics, the tools in which we use to do so are very different. Rather than that face-to-face interaction you might have received at a Mom and Pop shop, businesses are engaging in the same type of interaction, but using social media tools like Twitter and Facebook to make those connections – no matter where their customers are. It has revolutionized the way in which companies do customer service, and if done right, is extremely powerful. Look at Zappos. They refer to themselves as a customer service company that sells footwear and clothing. Zappos is doing customer service right and leveraging online tools to do so. Any business, large or small can do the same.

What companies do you engage with whom you feel are doing it right? And, more importantly, what is your favorite Rock Band song to rock out to?

Cross-posted from http://www.christine-major.com

Online vs offline networking

Based on our expanded services over the last few years and the plethora of social media posts on this blog, we’re obviously huge fans of online networking. But when I attended the MarketingProfs B2B Forum TweetUp Monday evening, I was reminded how important face time is with those we connect with online.

I had the pleasure of seeing older friends/industry colleagues like Chris Brogan, Jim Storer, Jim Spencer, Patrick Rafter and Ann Handley, and I was fortunate enough to meet those who were – until now – online acquaintances such as Steve Woodruff, Diane Hessan, Mike Volpe and many others. I also received a lot of flack from Joselin Mane about the fact that I don’t go to enough TweetUps. And you know what, despite my push back about lack of time for family commitments, work and personal friends – let alone TweetUps – he has a point. There’s nothing quite like face-to-face networking. It provides the opportunity to create stronger bonds with others and discover chemistry that might not come through as quickly in online conversations. (It also keeps you “real” – here’s a funny post about how online and offline behaviors differ.)

Although I recognize the value in such events and enjoy most of them, I really don’t get to as many as I probably should. But you know what, I don’t see many other PR agency leaders at them either. So I started to wonder, is it a generational gap? Is online networking enough? Are those that don’t do both missing huge opportunities?

After a few of us listened to Brogan run through his event schedule – and wondered just how he does it – we talked about how not everyone is created equal. What I mean by that is that not everyone has the same personal or work situation – and so reasons for attending or not attending vary greatly.

@jeffglasson @chrisbrogan @fairminder

Younger workers seem much more likely to attend events on a regular basis – they often live in closer proximity to the city (here in Boston, anyway) and they usually have interest in meeting people for personal reasons as well (friendship or dating, for example). Older workers may live in the suburbs with a healthy commute both ways, and thus attend less often – and become more choosy about what they attend and why they attend. With many who have spouses or families waiting at home, the options for attending the overflow of events may be even slimmer.

Don’t forget that a lot of people who are active in online communities – such as Twitter and Facebook – physically live in rural areas and barely get to any face-to-face events at all. Are they at a disadvantage?

What’s your opinion?

  • Is there a generational gap in networking?
  • Is it a sign of career dedication (or lack thereof)?
  • Do you gain business value from every event?
  • Does it hurt to attend less events or is online networking just as valuable?

25 SXSW Attendees Explain Why You Should Attend Next Year…Oh and they did it in two words…

Inspired by Steve Garfield’s video montage “27 People, One Question” I thought it would be fun to do something similar during my trip to SXSW Interactive. Throughout my time there, I had some lighthearted fun with attendees and asked 25 people to give me two words that describe their experience at the event. Some of the responses, both serious and entertaining, came from folks like Jeff Pulver, Chris Brogan, Justin Levy, Jeremiah Owyang, Robert Scoble, Jason Falls, Aaron Strout, and many others. Using my handy Kodak Zi6 HD camera I captured some great footage that hopefully encapsulates what SXSW Interactive is all about and in some cases, just made me go “huh?”

So without further ado, for your viewing pleasure check out what some of this year’s SXSW Interactive attendees had to say for themselves. I am sure you will recognize a few of your friends and hopefully have a few laughs along the way.

A special thanks to everyone who participated and shared their two (and sometimes more) words and thanks for all the memories. See y’all next year – SXSWi 2010!

Disclaimer: The video quality and lighting varies slightly due to the ‘extreme’ shooting conditions of SXSW. :)

Translation: This was my first attempt and I didn’t lug around all the lighting and sound equipment with me for these impromptu shots, so some responses were a little more difficult to see/hear, but you get the point.

Music: Dan Tharp, Guitar Suite I – Movement I and II
Camera: Kodak Zi6 HD

South by Southwest or Bust!

SXSW 2009PerkettPR is heading to Austin, Texas this week to attend one of the most anticipated events of the year – SXSW 2009 Interactive! Heather Mosley (@mosleyppr) and I both served as panel liaisons for this year’s festival and we are looking forward to meeting with all the social media movers and shakers at the event.

Along with attending the many sessions the conference has to offer, we will be conducting several informal video interviews from the event to share on this blog. We have already confirmed some great interviews with David Meerman Scott, Chris Brogan, Justin Levy, Peter Kim, Steve Garfield, Michael Langford, Mike Lewis and others, and we are looking for more! If you are a tech blogger/reporter, entrepreneur, social media enthusiast or just a big thinker who would like to speak with us at the show and tell us about your innovative spirit, please let us know – we’d love to connect in Austin to learn and share more.

If you are not attending but would like us to try and catch someone specific for an interview, please send us a note or post some suggestions here – we’ll do our best to catch those folks on video. Also, send us your suggestions on the “must see” events, parties, and activities we should plan on attending. We don’t want to miss anything!

Here’s what we’re looking forward to:

  • The Accelerator, in which about two dozen startups will demo their services or products before a panel of judges; venture capitalist Guy Kawasaki and tech journalist Brad King will emcee the event
  • Core Conversation: Why Gen Y Won’t Friend Your Brand
  • Guy Kawasaki’s Keynote Interview with “The Long Tail” writer Chris Anderson
  • Core Conversation: How to Create a Great Company Culture
  • Opening Remarks by Tony Hsieh of Zappos
  • Core Conversation: Advertising is Entertaining – Who’s Selling Out?

And so much more! We look forward to seeing you at SXSWi!

Contact/follow us at:
Christine Major – cmajor [at] perkettpr [dot] com or DM at @cmajor
Heather Mosley – hmosley [at] perketpr [dot] com or DM at @mosleyppr