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Expion Social Business Summit Day One

Martin W. Smith September 12, 2012

Expion’s first Social Business Summit was a hit. The summit came at you as fast as social media does, so very fast. Expion, an enterprise social media platform that helps manage the unique social media challenges of brands with multiple social location faces, pulled off a large and challenging event. As the conference wrapped on the second day, Peter Heffring, Expion’s brilliant CEO, admitted to having misgivings before the conference but none afterwards as he thanked a great team including Zena Weist, VP Strategy and Erica McClenny, VP Client Services. We are proud that Expion is an Atlantic BT web development partner. We helped create their website.

Given the  long agenda of great speakers and the amount of information, it was impossible to adequately liveblog Expion’s Social Business Summit. Great information fast and furious, so I gave up my love of the liveblog. There was so much great information, I broke it up into:

  • My Impressions and Thoughts on Day 1.
  • Impressions and Thoughts on Expion Social Summit Day 2.
  • An analysis of the summit’s tweets (post by Friday).

Expion’s Social Business Summit Day 1: Marty’s Thoughts

Amber Naslund and Matt Ridings Expion Social Summit

Amber Naslund (@AmberCadabra) and Matt Ridings (@techguerilla) opened Expion’s Social Summit with a challenge. Isn’t it time time to move beyond social media? The facts are in, and they point to something new, they point to “social business”.

Amber and Matt were ambitious. Most social marketing presentations, they noted, discuss adoption vs. reality, where we are vs. where we want to go. Where we want to go is usually a series of incremental steps taken from where we are now. But Amber and Matt pointed out that we can’t get to a radically new “social business” platform unless we understand and adopt a new framework. They refused to “dumb down” their presentation to match the usual conventions. I applaud them for tackling the right issue in the right way, and I had a chance to share that feedback with them before they left on Day 2.

Thinking “Social Business Platform” and working backwards, instead of looking at where we are and climbing an incremental ladder. Wow, the idea of working backwards from the ideal destination, social business, is a great and important idea. Just because something is on this side of NEW doesn’t mean those doing it know what they are doing well enough to justify copying them. Incremental improvement of HERE rarely gets your marketing to THERE.

Here is an interesting chart Matt and Amber used. This chart from eMarketer surveyed marketers worldwide asking how they are using social media marketing:
Expion Social Summit Review Atlantic BT Blog
Matt and Amber pointed out the 41% of marketers who indicate social media can help reduce costs.

At AtlanticBT, we see confirmation of every bar in this chart. We see a group of larger customers beginning to tap social media for internal communication and so reducing costs even as communications speed up. I like using the cost reduction data. Cost reduction speaks to creating a “social business”.  When social media does the heavy lifting of cost reduction, a social business framework is closer.

Creating A “Social Business” Framework
What is social business? Here are Matt and Amber’s notes explaining a new platform called “social business”:

First, we reach toward tools we love in order to understand where we should focus our efforts. We establish social media “maturity models” based on certain social table stakes: being on Facebook, having a listening platform, responding to customer inquiries on social sites.

We love maturity models for the same reason we love case studies: they help us take the shortcut that other organizations have learned the hard way. Maturity models give us a nice neat picture to use as reference, as a starting point and gut-check for what we’re doing or about to do.

Long term maturity models are extremely limiting. They’re based on averages, on businesses in the middle of the bell curve, on an amalgam of companies that don’t share your quirks, challenges, goals, uniqueness, or anything.
[emphasis mine, from Social Media To Social Business slides on SlideShare]

After managing a team that generated over $30M in online sales, I’ve learned the core truth of Amber and Matt’s idea. Internet marketing and social media marketing are in a constant roil where revision follows revision. Stand out, create awesomeness, find Seth Godin’s elusive “Purple Cow” content and discuss it in novel ways with a commitment to “social business”, or you won’t make money. Do what everyone else is doing, how everyone else is doing it, and your marketing will lose before you start.

I won’t deep dive Amber and Matt’s “social business framework” since they cover it well in their SlideShare.  I add my endorsement of the need for a larger idea, the idea of a social business platform with all the novel ideas, unique creative and collaborative impulses such an idea implies. Flip “Be Amazing” over, and “Be Creative” is on the other side. Adapt and adopt Matt and Amber’s framework or create your own, but write, “Become a Social Business” on your strategy and planning calendar for 2013.

Jason Falls: No BS Social Media

Jason Falls Expion Social Summit Atlantic BT Review Jason Falls (@JasonFalls) does not disappoint. As Matt Wurst (@MWurst) noted on Twitter, “Jason Falls is about to start yelling at me, I think”.  Jason was about to yell at all of us (lol). He is the new Tom Peters, a passionate advocate for truth, justice and American marketing way. Jason’s ability to be funny and perfectly on point at 9 o’clock at night after an open bar that started at 6pm is testimony to his superhero social skills. That Jason has the ability to call BS only intensifies his punch.

The audience of over a hundred people were social media believers, but Jason’s presentation asked an implied question. You talk the social media marketing talk, but do you understand how to walk the new walk? Taco Bell knows how. Jason discussed a recent dust up on Twitter between Taco Bell and Old Spice.

You can read more about the social wrestling match between two power brands in Adweek. I received a more direct example.  A social media angel visited @ScentTrail:

Taco Bell Answers ScentTrail on twitter image

As if summoned by Jason, @TacoBell picked up my 9:05 PM tweet with the Adweek link and responded, “Good Times” within 30 minutes. Note there was NO “@TacoBell” in my tweet. Taco Bell is just awesome, as Jason pointed out. They live and work in the REAL TIME that is social media marketing. I bet Taco Bell has an advanced ORM (Online Reputation Management) system such as Radian6 AND someone at the wheel who knows what they are doing. The need for having someone OTHER than an intern managing your social media is becoming apparent (read my post calling for a “Social Media Flow Manager“ on ScentTrail Marketing).

Jason didn’t disappoint. His, Amber and Matt’s admonition to, “Be Amazing, Create HOLY SMOKES Content,”  set one of the three pillars of the Expion Social Summit in cement. Learn about the other pillars tomorrow when I attempt to do justice to a day so full of social media gold it will be hard to mine.

Our thanks to the Expion team for including us and selecting Atlantic BT to create a web presence for a very cool company. If you need an enterprise social media management platform, have someone run your team through an Expion demo. Once you stop gasping AWESOME, you will see how social media’s ROI is easy to discover, and even easier to create with the right tools. More on Peter Heffring’s demo of the new and improved Expion tomorrow.