Get ready, Portland. Jason Falls and his social media band are headed this way. Social media awesomeness is yours for the taking: come out for the kick-off on Wednesday, Nov. 14 and join Fall’s digital marketing conference Explore Portland Nov 15-16, 2012. Both events are chock-full of marketing experts ready to share their advice to take your marketing strategy and tactics to the next level.
As part of our TMMPDX Marketing Innovators Series (and to give our readers the sneak-peek), TMM interviewed Jason.
Jason, we are looking forward to having you in town for Explore Portland on Nov 15-16. The awesomeness starts with the line-up of speakers and panelists. What are some of the highlights, including what an attendee can expect to walk away with?
We’ve really packed a lot of great insight and content into the two days. Anytime you’ve got Jay Baer, Scott Stratten and Michael Brito on a speaker dais, you’re going to learn and be entertained. But we’ve got some hidden gems among the nationally prominent speakers coming to town like Tamsen Webster who runs strategy for allen+gerritsen in Boston and is probably one of the smartest people I know. Her husband, Tom Webster, minds the most current social media user behavior data for Edison Research and will present that information to give us a nice fundamental layer of knowledge. Nichole Kelly is *the* expert for measurement and ROI nationally who will share our (Social Media Explorer’s) methodology of aligning social and digital to other marketing channels to show business results. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Tim Hayden is the preeminent mobile marketing expert in the country, Tim Washer will put a fun spin on content marketing for the B2B and staid and stoic companies out there, Zena Weist has operationalized social across large enterprise companies … there’s a lot of knowledge and helpfulness on display here.
Is there still time to register?
Yes — you can register right up until we start, though our catering budget would appreciate you doing so ahead of time. Just go to Explore Portland. The full agenda is there, as are links to speaker bios, their topic descriptions and the registration form is right in the middle of the page. Plus, since you heard about it on www.TMMpdx.com, we’ll give you $300 when you enter ‘NONPROFIT’.
I hear there will be a ‘showdown’ between you and B.J. Mendelson regarding the merits of social media during the conference. Tell us more!
B.J. just published a book called “Social Media is Bullshit” in which he offers up the perspective that only companies with big budgets and celebrity endorsements are really successful at social media and it’s not because of social media at all, but ad support and convenient promotions by the social channels themselves (featured videos on YouTube, etc.) His view of social is very limited and slanted, in my opinion, because he used it for a couple of business ventures and a couple of non-profit ventures, but doesn’t have a laundry list of examples of it failing. He makes a good argument that success is easier if you stack the cards in your favor with budget, etc., but he doesn’t make a good argument that you shouldn’t use social. Whereas, I can point to dozens of case studies of success with small businesses that don’t fall into his criticism. So we’re going to duke it out, as it were. Plus, my first book is called “No Bullshit Social Media,” so he’s treading on my search juice. Heh.
In the recent SocialMediaExplorer.com article, ‘4 Rules for Today’s Social Business Journey’, Andrea Cook recaps Explore Orange County, and shares insight from Michael Brito. Brito reminds digital marketers to focus on core business objectives amidst ever changing technology. What are 3 things today’s marketers can do to ‘keep their eye on the ball’?
- First, align your social media goals and objectives with your business’s goals and objectives. Why focus on collecting fans if you’re not then persuading them to do what you’re persuading your other audiences to do? Align your objectives.
- Second, plan to measure. If you get to the end of the driveway and ask, “Where are we going on vacation?” you’ve already lost. You haven’t packed, have directions, booked a hotel, etc. Why would you jump into social media or digital marketing not knowing where it is you want to go. You have to come out of the gate saying, “We want to drive revenue,” or “We want to improve customer service scores,” and then go do that.
- Finally, you have to continually check and re-check your audience. Know where they’re interacting, what they’re talking about, what they need from someone like you online. That’s a moving target, though, so constantly ask, re-ask, check the research, get the newest numbers … understanding your audience isn’t a one-time research project. It has to be done in an ongoing fashion.
In ‘Finding Your Why’ , founder and CEO of Digital Royalty, Amy Jo Martin talks about social media being an ‘equal opportunity space’ without ‘geographic boundaries or gatekeepers’. Further, she writes ‘We can inspire people to use technology & social communication channels to accomplish what they want — get a job, build a brand, connect with family, become a rock star, become inspired. It provides access to anyone and everyone. We can help bring back the American Dream.’ What is your response to social media as an equal opportunity space?
I think that’s spot-on. Before social media, I was writing a newspaper column that about 20 people read. With it, I built an audience of 8-10,000 readers on MySpace. Then I combined my marketing and PR job with my social media experience and built an entire company out of it. Justin Bieber went from an unknown Canadian kid with some talent to a super star and how many hundreds of people with a hobby have now turned it into a thought leadership platform or a cottage industry because the tools allow you to be global, real-time and always on? It’s certainly got something to offer everyone and will offer you as much as you are willing to take.
Social Media Explorer is rocking both social and content marketing. What insight can you give our readers for maximizing the integration of social and content marketing for their own business?
To me, social is 75 percent content marketing in the first place, so that’s where to start. (The other 25 percent is just being there to have conversations, engage, respond and care for your customers.) For me, content marketing is all about knowing who your audience is, where they hang out, what they’re interested in and then anticipating what will make them say, “Holy Smoke! That was awesome!” If you can deliver that with your content — and you can replace “awesome” with great, sad, funny, informative, impressive, neat, etc. — then you will win in the long run. Social media for businesses is about giving an audience a reason to interact with you more frequently so that you’re top of mind or preferred when they want to buy. Content is how you achieve that.
In June, you published ‘5 Mobile Marketing Questions Every Business Owner Needs Answered’ on www.Entrepreneur.com. As mobile marketing is moving so fast, are there any updates to offer?
Not really. We’re starting to see more devices hit the marketplace with native QR readers, so adoption is increasing, but it will be another generation or two of devices before the majority of the market can just point their phone at a code and have it take them where they want to go without them having to download something. Mobile commerce is still the next big frontier for a lot of businesses and is potentially poised to run banks and credit card companies into the ground thanks to applications like Square that give small businesses more of that transaction dollar by offering lower transaction fees. I haven’t walked into a small business in a while that I haven’t said, “I can save you hundreds of dollars a month right now. Have you seen Square?” And I don’t profit at all. I just send them to the website to grab their reader.
Last, are there any places you are hoping to visit while you are in Portland?
If I had enough hours (or we could sell this event out before I land on Tuesday, Nov. 13 so I don’t have to hustle at the last minute), I could think of a few places. I still might hit some of them. I want to go to Powell’s City of Books, Voodoo Doughnut and the X-Ray Cafe. I’m sure there are a dozen dive bars I could spend a week in, too. Honestly, though, I’m a people person, so while the landmarks are awesome, it’s really enjoying the people of Portland that’s on my list. And I’ll be doing that regardless of where I wind up. This is my second trip to Portland and the first one (which was like 36-hours long) was good enough to make me decide I wanted to bring Explore there, so I’m really stoked to be coming back.
Thank you, Jason, for taking time to speak with us. We’ll see you on the 14th!