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Guest Post: Three Takeaways from Mashable Connect

Mashable hosted its invite-only Mashable Connect conference last Thursday through Saturday (at Disney World in Florida!), with execs across media, digital technology, and communications in attendance.

Our invite was lost in the mail, but Rob Longert, senior digital media strategist at M Booth, was there to fill us in on some of the goings on. Mashable also gives readers a peek here.

Words From Mashable Connect (#MashCon) by Rob Longert, senior digital media strategist at M Booth

It is easy to say that “our industry won’t ever be the same” and that “social media is the next big thing,” but if there’s anything I took away from Mashable Connect (MashCon) it’s that social media is just one of many targeted channels to reach your audience.  The key to success is knowing your audience.

Pete Cashmore opened MashCon by saying, “Social media puts the tools of distribution and content creation in the hands of everyone.” It’s up to us as communications professionals to harness the power of social media to curate and inspire targeted and tailored conversations within social communities. This requires an effective listening program – one that is ongoing, organic and nimble.

Here are some tips from MashCon’s speakers to ensure that your strategy maps back to your clients’ goals:

-          Every audience is different: During her “Social TV: What’s Next” panel, Sabrina Caluori, HBO’s director of social media and marketing, discussed how the HBO audience uses their “second and third screens,” to connect post-show vs. in real time. HBO’s fan base takes a “lean-back” approach to its programming and therefore its social media engagement strategy was built around that insight. Knowing your audience inside and out allows you to best serve up successful content and engagement opportunities for your brand.

-          Social interactions are part of human nature: Social media isn’t just a tool to push out information, but rather a  way for brands to tell their story and build relationships with their audiences. According to Mike Lazerow, CEO of Buddy Media, “Facebook solves human needs that are universal, and those needs are about wanting to feel loved and a sense of belonging.” Knowing this, brands must have an authentic online voice and personality to capitalize on the natural way people behave within social platforms. When crafting a social media strategy for clients, PR pros must remember that “there’s more to life than “like,” as Scott Heiferman, co-founder and CEO of Meetup.com stated at MashCon.

-          Measurement is more than counting clicks: The PR industry is constantly trying to find a magical elixir to cure the measurement conundrum, but guess what? It doesn’t exist. Ian Schafer, CEO of Deep Focus put it well at MashCon when he said that “connections are the new impressions.” Schafer challenged the audience to understand the value of long-term engagement and to actively observe what resonates with an audience over time. By doing this, we as marketers can see what drives our audience to action.  As Ogilvy‘s SVP of global strategy and marketing Rohit Bhargava said, “show me the column on the spreadsheet for passion.”

Ultimately, tapping into passion leads to the best kind of action – advocacy and sales.  And, knowing what motivates your audience is the key to getting there.

(*Note: None of the panelists quoted are M Booth clients.)

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