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The Dachis Group Social Business Summit: An Account Planner’s Perspective

Yesterday I attended the Dachis Group’s annual Social Business Summit in Austin, Texas. I was quite intrigued with the all-star lineup of speakers that included Jeremiah Owyang of Altimeter Group, Bonin Bough with Kraft Foods and David Armano of Edelman Digital to name a few. The summit did not disappoint. I loved the format of the day which was similar to TED with rotating speakers in 30 minute slots. The W also added some polish as everything was impeccably organized and visually appealing. (Having sat through my fair share of conferences, a room that doesn’t look like the local big hotel ballroom is a welcome change.) But the best thing about the summit was the smart thinking on social business that was shared.

As an account planner by trade, I could see many ways that we can impact and improve how our Clients do social. Here’s my top ah-has from the Summit and some thoughts for those of us in the planning world.

Harness the power of the employee advocate
There was a lot of discussion across several speakers around bringing a brand’s employees into the mix in social programs to tweet, Facebook and socially get the word out on what your brand is doing. This is probably something that the corporate communications folks are thinking about but why not consider this as part of strategic planning? Build the strategy or even develop insights into this group and include the employees in the social effort as people who are paid to love your brand.

There’s engagement and then there’s authentic engagement
Erik Huddelston of the Dachis Group dedicated his 30 minutes to engagement and this idea of authentic engagement really hit home for me. Yes there’s likes and posts and followers but how many of those people really speak about and engage with your brand in a way that says they really get you? The key is you have to know how to analyze the posts, messages and feedback (or what we planners consider qualitative data) to better understand how on-brand they are based on the brand voice and key content you want people to get. This is where those of us who have spent years and years making sense of thousands of focus group, ethnographic and open-ended survey responses can apply those skills to social to determine who is really on-brand. Love it!

Consumer behavior is a moving target…try to keep up
There’s so much change it is indeed mind blowing and it can be hard to get a handle on it. But if we look for the bigger behavior patterns buried in all these new social offerings, I think we can add an angle to our trend analyses as planners that will be compelling. That’s what Melissa Lavigne-Delville of NBC Universal did for her 30 minutes and it was riveting. Here’s some tidbits:
 forget about loyalty and work on being popular. If your friends love a brand, chances are they’ll influence you to love it too.
 Now there’s P2P. People are selling directly to each other. Think ebay and Needle. Can you get them to sell your brand?
 People like stuff with resale value. Can you build more value into your brand so that it’s resellable? Mango lets you return clothes for up to 7 years and get 20% towards new Mango clothes.

I learned a ton more yesterday but in our ADD world, I’ve probably gone on too long. Bottom line from the day? This is one of the most challenging times in social business given the rapid change and fledgling nature of the biz, but it’s also by far the most exciting.

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