For those who aren’t in the loop, the Social Media Week is on full-tilt in Vancouver. With the wonderful and welcoming social media and blogging community in Vancouver, there was no way I would miss this free event to learn more about social media and Internet marketing (all part of my personal education plan!) and to make new contacts.
The first event I attended was the Blogging Summit on Monday morning at 9AM at UBC Robson Square. The setting made me a bit nostalgic of the academic setting–I am still mourning this part of life, it seems. In any case, the summit promised interesting speakers: Shane Gibson from Closing Bigger, Raul Pacheco of Hummingbird604 fame, a panel focused on tech questions, Tris Hussey from TrisHussey.com, Rob Jones from BuildDirect and Rob Cottingham who draws the Noise to Signal comics.
Armed with my iPad and the ThinkBook app (that I will eventually review, I promise), I sat down to be enlightened by the experienced and influential bloggers of Vancouver.
Shane Gibson: The place of social media in B2B
Social media may seem useless for business-to-business purposes, but Shane Gibson showed that blogging can be a great tool to drive business, even in the longer sales cycle of the B2B world.
The heart of a B2B blogging strategy is like a reverse drip: instead of reaching out to potential customers, let your content bring them to you. No cold calls needed: all you have to do is provide useful content that potential channel partners will want to consume.
He also touched upon the power of podcasting and how it creates a personal voice that’s perfect for the mobile consumer.
His secrets to a great B2B strategy?
- Help your potential clients solve problems, understand what’s important to them
- Build relationships through your blog and social media channels
- Be consistent: blogging won’t work unless you do it regularly for a long time, and keep up at it
- Produce more and better content than your competitors
Raul Pacheco: How to influence influencers
A lot of bloggers, like Raul, aren’t journalists. They’re not paid to do all the work they do; they often pay all the fees related to having a website out of their own pockets. Raul’s talk centered around how PR representatives need to adapt to the blogging situation.
His tips on how to influence online influencers?
- Get to know your blogger
- Understand how online influence works
- Match the client to the blogger
- Follow through–bloggers are busy people!
- Avoid PR one night stands (i.e., build a lasting relationship)
Raul gets a whole lot of pitches, 80% of which end up in the trash. Why? Unpersonalized (or badly personalized), a bad match or too late to cover.
Do you pitches well, personalize them and do it early (as in, not the day before the event). You’ll have a better chance at getting coverage!
Blogging technology panel
The panel was a mishmash of a bunch of things, prompted by questions from the audience. We discussed comment management through external services such as Disqus and CommentLove, the pros and cons of hosted vs. self-hosted blogs, the benefits of Tumblr, etc.
There was a bit of talk about distinguishing your blog from your website and when that might useful (and when it’s not). We also got a little about what social media buttons to use–but remember that the tech shouldn’t define who you are as a blogger.
Finally, we talked about monitor and about how important it is to monitor the conversation that’s happening about you. So monitor!
Tris Hussey: Overcoming fear
Tris’ talk was hopeful and encouraging for beginner bloggers. Its theme was mainly around letting go of the fears that come with blogging.
Fears that come with blogging:
- I can’t
- It’s going to suck
- I have nothing interesting to say
- I’m scared of people’s reactions
Anyone can blog. Not everyone can blog like Guy Kawasaki or Seth Godin, but everyone can blog. The Internet is so large; there has to be someone in there somewhere whose interests are the same as yours.
As for the writing? It gets better. If you look at some of my early writing on my LiveJournal (you can find a link here), you’ll see that I’ve come a long way. You can, too.
Rob Jones: Add value
Rob brought us back in the commercial and corporate blogging world by talking about his blogging strategy for BuildDirect.com. It was a challenge because the building industry is very traditional and experts, influencers and customers are wary of social media and new technologies.
If you don’t have expertise on a specific topic, find someone on the Web who has it and engage them on Twitter and other social media channels. It’s all about the “silvery thread”; it’s all about adding value to your customers without pushing or selling.
Rob Cottingham: Too much information
Rob Cottingham discussed the issues of disclosure and over-disclosure on social media. When is too much actually too much? Do we gain from over-disclosure in some cases?
To be honest, I was too fascinated by the writing of the speech (beautiful similes and excellent delivery) to take much notes in this one. He did touch on how sometimes over-disclosure can help us deal with things that are often repressed in mainstream media: death, mental illness, poverty, social exclusion.
I really enjoyed this session and I learned about new tools and heard new perspectives about blogging. Despite the fact that I’ve been blogging since 2002, I still have a lot to learn and the blogging world has changed so much in these short 8 years.
One comment: lack of women. I know there’s a women blogger panel, but aren’t some women authorities on blogging and social media on their own without needing to be in a women-specific panel? Just a thought.