On Monday, I attended the Social Fresh Nashville conference. Driving to Nashville and back on the same day was enough to make anyone tired, but the Social Fresh experience was definitely worth the drive and lack of sleep (thank you 4am alarm clock). About 150 people packed the meeting space at the Millennium Maxwell Hotel each with a unique background and perspective on social media for marketing. With regards to social media, we’re all in different stages, hopefully always willing to remain a life long student no matter how “expert” we get, or think we get. I’m sure every person at this event left with something different. Our intentions are all different. Our focus is different. Our goals are different.
The biggest takeaway for me was the simple word “community.” Today ee hear more about Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter numbers and less about cultivating a thriving, energetic community. About a month ago I picked up the book Six Pixels of Separation by Mitch Joel. I just cracked open the cover a few days ago after watching a short video interview with the author by Jason Falls. In the interview, Mitch is talking about when clients come to him saying, “We need to get on Facebook and Twitter!” Mitch’s response is, “Ok, why do you need to be there?” You have to start with the why’s for the things you do before deploying the tools. Seems like such a simple concept that we’ve probably all heard many times, but when you think about in terms of a community, it seems to make much more sense – at least it does for me. You can keep casting your net out there with the old marketing mindset just using new tools, and you’ll probably end up at a dead end pretty soon. At the conference, Jason Falls touched on “intent” being your most important aspect of engaging online as a marketer. Your audience can easily see your intent. Do you want to be just another marketer trying to sell products, spamming the kind people who have so graciously offered to be part of your club? Or do you want to be part of the community, part of the give and take of a real relationship.
I can’t help but think about the movie “Avatar” in this respect. The lead male character, Jake, goes into the new world, Pandora, trying to look like the Na’vi people, act like them, and even does a good job at pulling that off. However, at some point his original intent comes through, his hidden agenda, causing destruction and a complete breakdown of trust with his new community of friends. He has to then make life-threatening decisions to gain that trust back. Let’s certainly not be like Jake in this case. (By the way, I totally loved this movie and am only using this as one small example as it relates the aspect of community and real truth. If you haven’t seen it, let me officially offer my recommendation for you to pay the almost 10 bucks it costs these days to see a movie – or 12 if you see it in 3D. For the visual imagery alone, it’s worth the money.)
During each session throughout the conference, I kept coming back to community, back to being real and honest. For a company, I see why that concept is scary – but isn’t it where we are all headed? If we come at this ‘brave new world’ of social media with anything other than becoming part of the community, talking like them, thinking like them, then we have it all wrong. The big, impressive numbers of networking sites are enough to insight attention, but they aren’t the real value of engagement. The more we think in terms of reality and being real, the better we will fare in life and in social media.
If you attended the Social Fresh Nashville conference (or any of the others), what was your big takeaway?