While attending The Conversation, where I was leading a panel as part of Voce’s sponsorship of the event, I was talking with someone about where the film industry at all levels are in their usage of social media. Part of that had me mentioning my belief that there’s unfortunately very little cross-disciplinary reading going on. I said while conferences such as this one were great to get people to talking it would also be a good idea for them to start reading advertising trade pubs like Adweek, AdAge and ClickZ as well as the blogs of Jeremy Pepper, Shel Holtz, Spike Jones, Neville Hobson and others, including of course Voce Nation and all of the individual blogs the folks here have.
Doing so, I said, would introduce them not only to the language of the industry but also expose them to an overview of what the marketing world was trying to do right now, something that’s going to help them as they figure out what to do in terms of social media marketing themselves.
And that’s when it struck me that these sorts of industry-specific conferences and events are even more essential than ones that simply gather a bunch of social media practitioners and theorists – and more than a few shills and hucksters – together to celebrate how smart they are and eat BBQ.
During my panel on Saturday titled “Social Media Consults” I was thrilled to have a great collection of folks: Lance Weiler, Arin Crumley, Sean Fitzroy and Leah Jones. We started off simple with my asking “OK, where should people start if they want to get in to social media publishing and marketing?” and then the conversation evolved from there into the areas of setting up searches, the advantages of WordPress’ flexibility, how to work Feedburner and even a bit about metrics. For being only an hour – we probably could have gone two – it was a pretty wide ranging discussion and was driven by some great questions from the audience.
At one point Lance, I think, mentioned using Tweetdeck and after he finished speaking I stopped and asked the crowd if they knew what Tweetdeck was. When only two of the 25-30 people in the room raised there hands we offered a quick explanation so that everyone know what it was we were talking about.
I doubt this kind of break is necessary at many of the marketing industry confabs that happen, which is why it’s so important to break out of that world and get to where we can be the most help. If all we’re doing is presenting the same case studies to the same audience time after time the value in them diminishes greatly.
Going to this sort industry-specific event gives the discussion more focus as the theories, best practices and other knowledge we who live and breathe social media marketing are applied to specific problems, attitudes and strategies. It’s the same thinking that makes me not a fan of “10 Tips to Rule Twitter” or similar posts; The 10 things that work for healthcare companies are not going to work for the independent filmmaker, the insurance industry or a variety of others. Deeper dives are required to know the limitations faced by each one and time taken to know the comfort levels and ultimate goals of the individuals involved.
That’s what The Conversation provided – a chance to connect with a variety of people, from small documentary filmmakers to the editors of some of the leading indie film industry publications – and here them talking about what they were trying to do, what they were trying to overcome and what had worked in previous trials. That sort of give and take was great to be around as some truly interesting case studies were shared and people asked smart questions with the best answers given.
It was my pleasure to be part of such an educational day and I look forward to the next one.