Archive for the ‘Conferences and events’ Category.

Three tips for running a great tweetup

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Tweetup tips from Raytheon air show

Last week I was fortunate enough to attend the Farnborough International Airshow as a guest of Raytheon’s #meetRay tweetup.

As a bit of an aviation geek, I enjoyed the day tremendously – there’s a lot to be said for gaining VIP access (and shelter from the rain) – but what I found really impressive was the way the event was hosted.

Considering that this was Raytheon’s first international tweetup (with several participants flying from America to attend) I thought that there were several key things that other companies looking to host similar events should think about:

1. Regular communication leading up to the event

Raytheon’s social media manager kept participants up to date by email, with about one a week for the month leading up to the airshow. There was plenty of information on the itinerary, what to expect and bring, and who we would be meeting from the team on the day.

We also got to find out a bit about who the other participants would be thanks to a Twitter list of the guests, allowing the group to check out each other’s bios or follow their tweets.

During the run up to the event the @Raytheon twitter account also published mini-bios if an attendee sent one in by email. I forgot to do this opted to remain mysterious, so here is another example:

2. Use your team to give people options

While everybody at an event like this will share common interests, the group had a variety of backgrounds and Raytheon’s team did well to allow a flexible programme. In the afternoon the group split to tour different areas of the show - with the majority going for the space technology route with a former NASA employee. Being more into aircraft, I went along with a smaller group to view the flight line with a former pilot.

If you are running a similar event, it would be a good idea to take all the areas of expertise that you cover - to offer a varied and engaging programme. When everyone came back together to watch the last afternoon’s flying, there was lots of discussion about what each group had experienced, so splitting off doesn’t mean breaking up the group feel.

We were also given the option to stay later than originally scheduled, to catch all the flying displays. Unsurprisingly almost everybody took that option to stay for as long as possible!

3. Keep everyone connected

This might go without saying - but was no mean feat. Many of the tweetup veterans were impressed with the Wi-Fi, but it went beyond that, as Raytheon had a slew of power points and chargers available, as well as loan laptops. Everyone was there to enjoy the day, but being able to update in real time is what it’s all about. No need for worries about roaming data!

It also goes beyond the day itself - part of the appeal of a tweetup is bringing people together and the event itself is in an odd way just the beginning. The #meetRay hashtag is still being used several days later as the group keeps in touch, and we haven’t even begun sharing the many, many photos that were shot on the day.

Social media analysis: what data can teach us

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At SXSW 2012 Gilad Lotan from SocialFlow spoke about the “math that matters”.

Gilad’s R&D team spend a huge amount of time looking at data provided by the Twitter firehose and the bit.ly stream, using this information they are able to gain valuable insight into how Twitter users interact, and so predict the potential virality of certain content.

The team at SocialFlow applied this analysis to their own tweets. The results were interesting, as some tweets generated a large number of clicks but a low number of retweets, and vice versa. Using this information and by determining the characteristics of each “type” of tweet, SocialFlow were then in the position where they could target amplification (retweets) or engagement (clicks).

If you take this approach to your own tweets, you can work out when your users are paying attention and when they are likely to respond to your communications. You can also understand what topics are most interesting to your users. Once you have these two pieces of information you can start to ensure your brand is writing content, across your platforms, that will engage with your audience.

The focus of Gilad’s talk was on understanding audiences. One example below shows what topics the audiences of four major news networks are talking about:

News networks clicks from social flow

When looking at this information Gilad noticed that users clustered together into groups, further analysis showed that these clusters in some cases were geographic but in others they were groups around a single topic or even a single core influencer.

Geographic Socialflow social media data

They key take away from talk was that data can help you know your audience, understand what’s important to them, and when they are paying attention. Analysing this data into insight allows you to make every tweet count.

While this information is definitely useful, and a great starting point, the way that we would apply such insight is to go one step further and link it into existing business KPIs, such as measuring conversions from engagement into sales opportunities.

SXSW learnings: Dynamic Pricing

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Why we have price tags

The concept of a price tag on every product is actually a relatively recent idea. Up until about a hundred years ago, the expected method of purchasing something from a store was to select what you wanted and then barter for the price you wanted to pay.

The problem with this process was that customers felt  disadvantaged to the shop keeper, who was a much more experienced trader, and so the price tag was born. This ensured that every customer got the same deal.

And today?

Skip forward to today and we are starting to see a change in how products and services are priced. In several industries, such a travel, companies are changing prices frequently based on environmental variables like supply and demand. Take hotels at SXSW as an example, hotel rooms cost much more around the time of the festival due to the huge increase in demand.

This trend of dynamic pricing hasn’t spread to far into the retail sector yet, but with the increase in mobile usage retailers are starting to look for ways to tap into the vast amount of personal data you are carrying around with you.

We already have some services trying to work in this space. Tools like foursquare and Groupon are allowing retailers to offer savings to certain groups of people, but that’s just a scratching the surface of dynamic pricing,

With the increased adoption of NFC in the next 12 months we could see increasing numbers of retailers offering personalised pricing, that is just for you, based on anything from the amount of friends you have on Facebook, to the last time you tweeted.

There are some risks associated with this model. A few years ago Amazon experimented with a system which offered users a unique price based on location, time on the site and even what browser they were using. There was huge backlash because Amazon didn’t inform customers about the system and so users felt that they were being discriminated against.

The key to a successful dynamic pricing model is to be transparent about why you are offering each price otherwise your customers could feel alienated and cheated.

Photo credit: NeilT on Flickr

SXSW: Google+ is not (just) a social network

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The beauty of South by Southwest is having the opportunity to attend events such as a fireside chat about the Google+ project with Vic Gundotra, Senior Vice President of Engineering for Google+. Hosted by Guy Kawasaki, there were some interesting points to take away about how Google sees its offering with Plus.

The main points were that Google+ is much more than a social network (something that we have discussed before here at FreshNetworks) - and really is destined to apply a social layer across all of Google’s existing services.  An example of this is with video: it seems like a glaring omission from Google+,  but Google is already geared up to provide video functionality through YouTube.

The purpose of Google+?

What it’s really about is allowing Google to understand more about you and who and what you find important. This is clearly important for social search results, but also has benefits in helping you with your email. Obviously this won’t just apply to helping serve you with relevant content, but also targeted advertising.

Google’s primary revenue stream comes from advertising, so as you might expect Google has some clear ideas about where, or more importantly, when adverts should be shown.

For Google the key concept is “Commercial intent” , Google only wants to show you an ad when you have shown a clear signal that you are looking to purchase something.

Vic said that Google don’t want to get to a situation like Facebook where they are injecting ads into every aspect of your life. For example, he vowed that you will never see a ad when browsing photos you have uploaded onto Google+, but they will use the information you add about those photos when targeting you with ads on a search result.

A different approach from Facebook

This desire to learn lessons from Facebook came up again later in the same discussion, when asked about why a G+ API had not been released. Vic stated that he wanted to be sure that if an API was released it would stay forever and be stable, unlike Facebooks API which fequently changes, Vic said “We hold ourselves to a higher standard”

One final point is that Google now counts any user who logs in with a Google account to be a Google+ user, even if they haven’t posted anything onto Plus itself - so it might be prudent to be careful when analysing the network’s user numbers and demographics.

Get social: IBM’s Social Business and Social CRM roadshow

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Today I went to IBM and SugarCRM‘s “Get Social” social business and social crm roadshow.

Some of the key takeaways from the event include:

Social Business

Roy Lee, Marketing Director at IBM gave the following tips about social business:

  • Social business should tie together processes and departments. The IBM definition of social business is a business that is engaging, transparent and nimble.
  • Social media v social business - Lee believes that social media is about communication mostly  for marketing and PR. Social business, however, embraces social media but brings the tools and techniques inside an organisation, aligning goals across the organisation as a whole.
  • When it comes to social business, Lee believes organisations have to set an AGENDA:

A - Align organisational goals and culture

G - Gain social trust

E - Engage through experience

N - Network  your business processes

D - Design for reputation and risk management

A - Analyse your data

  • The most successful way to adopt social business is from the top down, via the senior executives and the board. Then you need to establish a digital council, community managers, a centre of excellence for continued learning and development, content management, guidelines and standards, reputation and risk management and metrics and measurements.
  • Lee believes that social gaming is critically important for engaging and IBM themselves have 2 social games internally - “IBM Innovate”, which is a business process management game which involves sharing final scores both internally and externally, and “City One”, a city planning simulation game.

Social CRM

The key take home from Tom Schuster, VP and General Manager of SugarCRM Europe, session on getting started with  Social CRM was as follows:

  1. Don’t know where to start with Social CRM? Start with the customer.
  2. Next, choose and open source CRM system that allows you to keep up-to-date with changes online.
  3. Ensure the CRM has a flexible Cloud infrastructure to allow easy data migration and alignment.
  4. Integrate collaborative processes into gathering data and merge all existing data with new data that is gathered to give a holistic picture.
  5. Allow users to connect to the CRM using their own tools and platforms.

While the session was very interesting, it didn’t offer any ground-breaking advice or case studies about  social business or social crm. However, it was good to see that social business is finally becoming a key objective for business leaders and owners on a global scale.