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Social Media Week – London

Last week @tbush and I attended the Social CRM workshop at Design Council and part of the week-long Social Media Week (SMW) which took place in London, Paris, Rome, New York, San Francisco, Toronto, Sao Paolo and Hong Kong.

Social Media Week

SMW_logo_web_blue_london Held for the first time in February 2009 in New York City, SMW was launched as a “distributed conference,” with events taking place in locations throughout the city and the next run in February 2010 expanded the conference reach to an additional five cities across the globe. Since autumn 2010 SMW is run biannual adding further locations and keeping up with the pace of technological change. According to figures released this week over 600 individual sessions attracted over 30,000 delegates at the spring session of SMW 2011. NixonMcInnes helped put together the Social CRM workshop and Will McInnes (@willmcinnes), who spoke at the FOTE09 conference about Our social tomorrow: How education and everything else is being positively and radically transformed, kicked-off the show with his take on what Social CRM means, how it integrates with your business and how it changes your interaction with customers (existing and new).

Social CRM workshop

Will’s enthusiastic take on what the ideal Social CRM world could/should look like – when good old fashioned CRM data seamlessly interacts with the myriad of social network gibberish (which may or may not be useful and of interest) offering a real-time and in-depth view of either individual customers or a wide-spread change of sentiment – started the panel discussion chaired by Vikki Chowney from Reputation Online. It was interesting to hear from Claire Kavanagh (@clairekav), CRM Manager for giffgaff, Eliza St.John, Online Marketing Manager for The Body Shop and Mark Squires (@DrPinball), Director Communications – Media Relations at Nokia how they are using social media to improve & manage customer service, create & maintain user communities, improve products & services and ultimately provide a great customer experience.

Key points

I won’t go into too much detail or transcribe the hour long session but will share the recording here once it has been posted online. Thanks to @Melmediasauce for pointing out they are already live!

Watch live streaming video from smw_london at

Here the key points I took away from the session:

  • Get your house in order: Inherently more complex and fast-paced than traditional channels in the marketing mix, social media/social CRM needs a solid foundation of business processes to work. How are you currently managing queries or complaints and how is your interaction with new and potential customers? How will bringing Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn into that mix change things?
  • One size fits all, NOT!: Different approaches work for different people/companies/products. With representatives from Nokia, The Body Shop, giffgaff and NixonMcInnes on the panel it became clear that what worked for one didn’t work for the other. Think of (or even better know) where your customers are and what they are interested in. Don’t built a new community if one already exists and if you do built one give them what they want.
  • Being social = Being successful: I just have to use Mark Squires’ domestic analogy. We, as human beings, are social; well most of us are. Being more social in our interactions with everyone around us is a logical step. Mark’s point if I recall correctly was ‘You wouldn’t talk to your wife only once a month, why do you think it’s okay to do it with your customers?’ He also made the point that Social Media/Social CRM is case of when not if, making it a competitive advantage to be more social and engaged with your customer base.
  • What’s your ROI: Having a thing for numbers and their visualisation and interpretation, hearing how The Body Shop tracks conversion rates and works out how many people come from Facebook, what their average spend and lifetime value is was impressive to say the least. I wonder if Eliza wouldn’t mind showing me a trick or two? This is powerful stuff, not only because it helps make the business case for the strategic use of social media but also because it shows in detail what works and what doesn’t. I don’t know about you but I rather spend more time on activities that help my bottom line.
  • Make mistakes and learn: This won’t be news for most of you, but nonetheless. The great thing about social media or digital in general is its low cost of entry compared to traditional communication channels. Once you have a clear idea of what you want to do and why, just do it. Just make sure you listen to feedback and improve/adapt your strategy and tactics accordingly.

What does that mean for Education?

University website: actual v needs by XKCD

University website: actual v needs by XKCD

All this got me wondering. Is this applicable to the education sector? Are HE/FE institutions already embracing Social CRM and if so how? I for one don’t know, or haven’t really looked into it to be more precise, but my assumption is someone somewhere must be doing something. If you know examples of how Universities & Colleges (not only in the UK) use social media beyond the ‘our-facebook-page-has-15,000fans-approach’ please share it here.

I remembered the nice graphic on the left when pondering the implications of social media in education. Wouldn’t it be great to give (prospective) students the information and support they need rather than doing the same old, same old? Does your institution know what students really think about their course or lecturer? Do you want to know and if you do know what are you going to to with that information?

Wouldn’t it be great to know that Facebook & Blackberry Messenger are the preferred social network and mobile device of student X so when the timetable changes, rooms are switched and assignments are due notifications are pushed to those devices rather than his student email which he hasn’t logged into in the last 4 weeks? Where do you see the future of Social Media/Social CRM in Education? What is already happening and what are the challenges?

posted by fote-conference on February 17, 2011

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