Getting Social @ITExpo

ite5I have been playing the guitar since I was a teenager and one thing guitarists are notorious for doing is playing a chord that sounds cool but not knowing what it’s called.  They will say something to the effect of “just put your fingers in this shape and it makes a cool sound” but ask them the name of the notes and you’ll get a blank stare.

I recently had the honor and privilege of being asked to be a panelist for two panels pertaining to social media at ITExpo, held by TMCNet in lovely Las Vegas.  After a year of focused work on our social media efforts at Phone.com, being asked to be on a panel is a lot like asking me to name that cool-sounding guitar chord.  I totally understand how to do social media but now you want me to describe it to someone else?  Wow, this is going to be a bit of a challenge.

As a panelist, I found the sessions to be so insightful that there were a few times when ite1my name was called and I wasn’t paying attention because I was too busy taking notes on what the other panelists said.  That is definitely a credit to the caliber of the panelists that I had the pleasure of working with.  Here are a few of my key learning points from these sessions:

  • Every company needs a social media strategy- Your customers are on social media whether you like it or not.  You need a strategy for connecting with them and engaging them in conversation.  Phone.com has been active in social media for a long time but we are constantly adjusting and improving our strategy.
  • Companies that have a social media strategy are already ahead of the game- There are many companies and executives just beginning to open their eyes to social media and many more that still have not.  If you have a presence in social media you truly may be ahead of your competition.  Now work to improve that and build a strategy!
  • Social media is public.  Do not fear but do be careful- Social media is public so anything you post can be seen by the Internet.  That is nothing new but a wonderful reminder that anything you post should be done intelligently.  There is no room to be combative with customers.  As David Vaughan so eloquently worded it, “Don’t feed the trolls!”  Your social media strategy should also enable your company to respond quickly and intelligently to all posts from customers.

For a more in depth summary, Blair Pleasant also wrote a wonderful summary of our session entitled “What Every Executive Needs To Know About Social Media.”

Finally, one of the best things about social media is the ability to connect with others and I would be remiss if I failed to mention some of the wonderful people I connected with.  Thank you to Blair PleasantPeter RadizeskiGarrett SmithDavid VaughanLance Fried and Ilan Dar for making this a fantastic experience and truly helping me understand the “why” behind social media.