This week's SocialFresh gathering in Nashville was poor in organization but rich in information. With an agenda focusing on the marketing side of social networking, the event offered a number of insights on the coming year in social marketing.
The star of the show was pundit/guru Jason Falls. While Chris Brogan of Trust Agents fame preaches a purist version of the gospel of Social Media, Jason is the no B.S. prophet of value and revenue via social marketing tools. His gruff-but-lovable, Dukes of Hazard tinted delivery makes him a star.
The crowd, I am guessing over 250 folks, included many luminaries and players. I enjoyed lunch with author Dan Zarrella, who's Social Media Marketing Book was published in November. Dan delivered the deepest presentation of the day, delving into the psychological models and conditioning that underpin our behavior online. Check out some of these amazing insights in Dan's white paper on Retweeting.
Here are my key takeaways:
Social Acceleration - 2010 is the year of social media integration. More organizations will view social media applications and customer networking as a core part of their marketing mix. By extension, email and social will begin to morph together, with mobile advertising joining the gumbo too.
Don't play in Social Media if You Don't Care About Your Customers - Social Media is at its core an extension of a company's culture. You have to be willing to open a real dialogue with your customers to be serious about social networking.
Protect Your Turf - Home Depot has an eighteen month track record on Twitter, but their presence was driven by a squatter claiming the Home Depot ID. All organizations (and individuals) must have at least a basic presence in the core social media channels to ensure, at the very least, that their interest are properly represented.
Small Businesses Must Have a Storefront - The imperative of basic Social Media planning for small business was stressed by several speakers. Home-based businesses in particular can leverage the trinity of email campaigns, meaningful blog content and effective use of social media tools to construct a virtual storefront.