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Home » News, SMI11, Social Media Influence Conference

#SMI11: Reporter’s notebook wrap-up edition

Submitted by on June 15, 2011 – 11:24 am2 Comments

We’ve just put the wrap on Social Media Influence 2011, our annual conference in which we bring together the top brands, thinkers and practitioners in the world of social business to discuss the big issues impacting the market today and what to expect tomorrow. The event drew speakers from Google, Dell, Unilever, LivingSocial, Orange, O2, Infosys, Viadeo and many more. Here’s some of the highlights and the first batch of photos too.

We do this every year, a morning-after run-through of our notes, pulling out some of the more interesting detail we heard during the day (in between running around, moderating panels, etc.). Here they are in, no particular order:

Benjamin Faes, head of YouTube and Google Display, EMEA

  • brands and their agencies are no longer coming to them asking for “a viral,” but they are seeing the power of video in creating attention and even cutting down on sales costs.
  • The power of mobile and video: just a few months old, Volkswagen’s “The Force” spot is the most viewed ad all-time on YouTube with, and here’s a twist, over 20% of the views occurring on mobile.

  • instructional videos are so effective in explaining to prospective customers the features and benefits of its software platforms. The company reckons the videos do the job of roughly 750 sales staff.

Stuart Handley, communications director at Dell

  • 1/5 of journalists access Twitter at least once per day for story sourcing.
  • by 2014, 20% of all business users will rely on social media rather than email for personal communications.
  • Dell tracks 25,000 conversations about its products and brands daily. (It listens in 11 languages and engages over 1,000/week through Twitter.)

Richard Downs, business director for Infosys Europe

  • By 2015, the average American will have 6 devices connected to the Net; 4.5 in the UK.

Selina Sykes, senior brand manager at Lynx, Unilever

  • Emphasis now is on recurring conversation, not campaigns.
  • Devise “conversation calendars” in which the team plans down to the daily/weekly Facebook update.
  • have found that Facebook fans are 30% more loyal to the product than non-Facebook fans.
  • Twitter and video are surprisingly strong traffic drivers.

Chris Reed, managing partner at Brew Digital

  • At time of Eurostar Channel Tunnel breakdown and ensuing social media backlash, the company did not own any Twitter handles associated with the brand. Who owned the Eurostar Twitter handle? A Japanese boy band.

Neil Chapman, Alpha Voice Communications, formerly comms chief for BP

  • Don’t blame the messenger: “your twitterfeed isn’t ruining your reputation. What happened is ruining it.”
  • The art of surprise: learned about sensational, hoax BP Twitter feed during live press interview. Set the policy in response: will continue to monitor it for dis-information and will otherwise continue to keep the public informed. To make a big deal about the fake feed would have created yet further bad PR.
  • As Matthew Yeomans, moderator, mentioned: Neil will be working with SMI on a series of social media crisis communications training courses. The first is set for 12 July.


Editor’s Note: Stay tuned here for further wrap-up, analysis and details on how to access the presentations.


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