Posts Tagged ‘webinar’

The Shopper EconomyThere is a new economic model – one that rewards the consumer for behaving a certain way that has far-reaching repercussions for your brand online. Companies that understand this new method of currency, value, and reward can reap the benefits of higher recall and increased consumer loyalty. Liz Crawford provides an analysis of this new model in The Shopper Economy: The New Way to Achieve Marketplace Success by Turning Behavior into Currency. With 20 years of experience as a brand manager and consultant focused on strategic innovation, Liz is uniquely qualified to identify this new shopper behavior-driven economic phenomenon. In anticipation of our Shopper Economy webinar next week, we sat down with Liz for some Q and A.

Your book, The Shopper Economy, describes an emerging economy where behavior is currency. What led you to investigate this topic?
I thought it was fascinating that digital technology, especially mobile technology, was enabling new kinds of transactions between buyers and sellers.  In addition to shoppers purchasing brands, brands were purchasing shopper behavior.  I believe this is a relatively new phenomenon.

In the book, I try to make clear that I am not referring to a conventional buy-more-get-more promotion.  And I don’t mean a deferred discount, like a cents-off-next-purchase.

Instead, I am pointing out a new dynamic where a shopper can actually earn value in exchange for one of four behaviors: paying attention, participating, advocating, or committing.  None of these behaviors directly involve purchase. The shopper can earn value by simply behaving.

This earned value can come in various forms – Shopkick Kicks, Facebook Credits, miles, points, etc. You will notice that this value is digital scrip (not straightforward fiat currency in most cases). The digital scrip is currency in that it is – 1. recorded,  2. stored and banked, and 3. redeemable at the discretion of the shopper, across channels. Shoppers can aggregate all manner of scrip in a clearinghouse website like www.points.com. This website allows shoppers to exchange hundreds of forms of scrip for fiat currency (dollars and cents), which may be deposited into a Paypal account.

Which industries are leading the way in understanding this new activity-based marketplace?
At this point, I believe that retailers are leading the way, along with financial services.

Retailers who are rewarding behavior are reaping the benefits.  There are various platforms which effectively use shopper participation to drive traffic and conversion.  These platforms include: http://www.scvngr.com/ , www.checkpoints.com/ , http://shopkick.com/ among others. These are platforms, which shoppers download onto their smartphones as apps.

American Express, of course, is a leader in the area. Their points system is both the granddaddy of digital scrip, as well as the continued frontrunner. One of the big reasons for their massive success is their extensive network of partners.  Shoppers who acquire points can redeem them in virtually any way they please, including simply using points to supplement/replace payments at a digital point of sale (www.americanexpress.com). I believe that with Google Wallet or ISIS type technologies, we will see frictionless, fungible exchanges of scrip with fiat currency, for everything. This really opens the door to the Shopper Economy.

How can small businesses take advantage of the concepts in The Shopper Economy?
Many smaller or independent retailers can begin to experiment with incenting behaviors by signing up with one of the platforms already mentioned (Checkpoints, Shopkick, SCVNGR, etc).  These mechanisms are used by hundreds of local merchants to drive traffic. In some cases the rewards are simply deferred discounts, like Foursquare rewards (“free coffee next visit” for example).  In other cases, the earned value is scrip which is redeemable at the discretion of the shopper.

For small business, advocacy is an important behavior to reward. Groupon and Living Social both reward shopper-to-shopper advocacy, and of course are used extensively by local merchants, like salons and restaurants.

In this new economy where shopper behaviors create units of value, how can marketers quantify a specific value to a shopper behavior?
This is a detailed subject.  The book devotes a chapter on valuation for each of the four shopper behaviors.  Some behaviors like Attention and Participation should be evaluated in comparison to more traditional communication and promotional expenditures, respectively.  So, if a shopper is watching an ad in exchange for scrip, does that shopper score higher on recall and persuasion scores?  It is the effectiveness of these efforts that need to be assessed. It is a trade-off of investment dollars.

The same evaluation process can be used to assess Participation programs.  For example, how effective is a SCVNGR game at driving store traffic, in comparison to other efforts?  This will help a business owner optimize marketing investments.  Participation also usually has a conversion component. That will help with understanding the financial return of the program.

The book also cites specific formulae to quantify some behaviors such as Advocacy.

What does the future look like in the shopper economy?
Shoppers will become increasingly sophisticated in understanding the worth of their labor.  This means that they will evaluate transactions with brands and retailers with a sharper eye to their own advantage.

For more insights from Liz Crawford, be sure to attend next week’s free Awareness webinar: The Shopper Economy. You can also download chapter 1 of The Shopper Economy: The New Way to Achieve Marketplace Success by Turning Behavior into Currency.

In 2010 Awareness hosted 24 webinars featuring a wide range of marketing topics presented by a host of social media authors and thought leaders.  The sessions continued to grow in popularity over the course of the year, attracting thousands of viewers and featuring entertaining and thought-provoking conversations.

Every session offered a ton of value but here is our list of the Top 6 #Awarenessinc Webinars of 2010:

#6:            “How Enterprise Marketers Keep up with Facebook” with Cappy Popp – July 30, 2010
Special Recognition “Most Positive Feedback”

In 60 minutes, Cappy taught me more about Facebook than I ever thought possible.  This session was both for the Facebook novice and ‘uber-facebook-geek’.  Cappy discussed key issues facing brands as they begin marketing on Facebook as well as drilling into how to execute, on a tactical level, within Facebook.

Cappy’s session gets 2010 the award for “Most Positive Feedback”.  Of the 24 sessions we held over the course of 2010 Cappy not only received the most feedback during his session (measured by number of Tweets, emails, and comments) but he also had the highest percentage of positive feedback for his session.

 

#5:               Are you answering the ‘social phone’? with David Alston – January 28, 2010
Special Recognition “Best Q&A Session”

This was one of my favorite sessions to host because David is smart, easy to talk to and has a great sense of humor.  That combination makes for a great session with an excellent Q&A.  With just over 900 registrations, Dave’s session focused on social media as a new communication channel, using the analogy of a “social phone”.

While the session took place just over a year ago the insights are still as relevant today as they were then.  I hope you enjoy it.

 

#4:              “Engage or Die! with Brian Solis – June 1, 2010
Special Recognition “Most Creative & Compelling Title”

Talk about a direct title!  In March, Brian released his latest book “Engage!” and we were thankful to have him on a call to discuss the details of the book a couple of months later.   During his session he discussed some of the highlights of his book as well as present some compelling case studies.  I am both a fan of Brian as a writer and as a person and this session did not disappoint.

 

 

#3:            “Career Path of the Corporate Social Strategist” with Jeremiah Owyang – November 18, 2010
Special Recognition “Best & Most Relevant Research”

Jeremiah’s research is always compelling and relevant.  During this session in November, he unveiled new research he completed focusing on the career path of the corporate social strategist.  The session defined the ‘new’ strategist position that is being adopted in corporations as well as outlined how individuals with this position mature.  The research was based on insights gathered from interviews with several large organizations.

 

#2:            “Socialnomics” with Erik Qualman – February 11, 2010
Special Recognition “Highest Registration Number”

It’s always a blast to connect with Erik! This session drove thousands of registrations, the most of any session in 2010, and the volume of attendees made for an incredibly interactive Q&A with Erik.  During the session and in his book, Erik describes the current social media movement as a time when, “It’s important to free your content from being trapped in a “walled garden” because people have quickly grown accustomed to the news finding them, and there is no turning back,” and, “Businesses don’t have a choice on whether or not to DO social media, their choice is how well they DO it.” 

 

#1:            “UNmarketing” with Scott Stratten – November 11, 2010
Special Recognition
Most Compelling Content & Funniest Personality

Despite some technical difficulties, this was my favorite session of 2010.  Scott could be (should be) a stand up comedian.  He does a great job taking solid content, making a point and forcing you to laugh while you learn.  It’s a quality most speakers strive for, but few are able to achieve.

 

Thanks again to all our speakers in 2010 who helped to educate the market on social media.  We have 24 exciting sessions scheduled for 2011.  Check out our current listing here.

You may not realize the post production work we do after a webinar is completed.  Once a session is completed the video is downloaded and converted to a YouTube-friendly format.  We then spend a fair amount of time editing the content to clean up any gaps in the presentation.  The session is then resaved and uplaoded to YouTube for the public to see.  Sounds simple, I know, but the truth is the process takes some time.

I was able to get some free over the weekend to clean up some recent content as well as rewatch the sessions and learn from the speakers again.  During most sessions I spend my time listening to the presentation, developing questions of my own and monitoring questions from the audience on Twitter.  There’s a lot going on and sometimes I miss some really important nuggets of information.  Taking the time to rewatch the sessions made realize the value our speakers provide.

Here are some sessions I just uploaded to YouTube from Scott Stratten (@unmarketing) – author of UnMarketing, Jeremiah Owyang (@jowyang) – Analyst at Altimeter Group, John Nielsen (@john4frank) founder of FRANK, and Tamsen McMahon (@tamadear) – of Sametz Associates.  I embedded them all below to make it easier for you to view them all.  I hope you get as much out of them as I did.

Last week I hosted a fun and informative webinar with my friend Rachel Levy, founder and CEO of WebinarListings.com, called “A Webinar About Webinars: The 6 ‘P’s’ of hosting a successful webinar“.  I had a blast chatting with Rachel and I think we shared a lot of valuable tips on how to host a successful webinar.

In case you missed it, view the recording by clicking here

Also, check out and download the slides:

Finally, Here is the full list of questions and answers we fielded during the event:

  • Q: ­What kind of file do you get from recording the audio from Skype?­ (Jessica R.) A:The program we use to record Skype calls is called PowerGrammo (http://www.powergramo.com/).  It’s a seamless plug-in to Skype.  It produces and MP4 file that we go on to edit in Audacity as a podcast.
  • Q: ­Are you using PowerPoint to build the visuals?  Do you use the .ppt format in the webinar or do you need to convert it to another format? (Tami W.) A: ­Actually… I use Keynote (Apple)… but do use PPT as well.  It’s always easier (if you don’t have builds) to convert to a PDF because the file size is smaller. 
  • Q: ­True that YouTube has time limit?  10 or 15 minutes in length?­ (Kim H.) A: ­Yes, YouTube currently has a 15 minute limit, unless you have a producer account.  But, Viddler (unlimited), and Blip.tv have longer limits.
  • Q: ­Do you have any best practices for how to “train” a remote speaker? E.G. we can’t see the speaker’s equipment, what buttons they’re pressing, etc. Some are very inexperienced with webinar technology.­ (Veronica S.) A. Typically we hold 2 sessions with speakers.  The first is a week before the event where we walkthrough the logistics and provide relevant training on the platform we are using.  The next session happens 30 minutes before the start of the call.  We review logistics and training and make sure everyone understands the process.
  • Q: ­What niche markets do you service?­ (Susan B.) A:  WebinarListings serves all webinar types, but the most common categories we have on our site are Business, Leadership, Marketing, Social Media and Technology.  A. At Awareness we work with small-to-large sized organizations who use our software help manage their social media activities through one location.  We don’t have a niche as our clients span multiple industries.
  • Q: ­What is the philosophy on slides?  Personally I like to take notes on a print out of slides.­ (Roger W.) A: I have seen some webinar hosts do that.  The upside is that people can take notes, but the downside for the webinar host is that people will skip around and not pay attention to where you are in the presentation.
  • Q: ­Will you show the social media promotion strategy you use?­ (Jessica R.) A: In terms of pre-event promotions we actively discuss upcoming sessions on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and on our blogs.  During the event we encourage questions and conversations from the audience through Twitter.  Post-event the recording and slides are available on our blogs and all social properties.  Social media is a core component to our overall webinar strategy.
  • Q: ­Mike, you mentioned you use WebEx; have you had the best success with them? Any others you’d recommend – Glance, GoToWebinar, etc…..­ (Nicki H.) A. We have had the best experience with WebEx because they seem to be the best at dealing with large audiences.  Each platform has its pros & cons.  I’d recommend making a list of the features and functions that are most important and trialing the 2-3 vendors that seem to fit your needs before making a final decision.
  • Q: ­Why are most Webinars held at 2PM ET?­ (Dave B.) A: 2pm is a great time for a webinar, as it accommodates most time zones at a reasonable hour.
  • Q: ­Do you always mute attendees during the presentation and then unmute them during Q&A?­ (Terri P.) A: I suggest keeping them muted during the entire webinar (including the Q&A) as it is difficult to control a large group from interrupting each other.  If you have a very small group, you can use the “raise hand” feature most software has, and unmute people when they have a question.
  • Q: Interested in how you incorporate the social media aspects with the webinar (Kim  H.) A: In terms of pre-event promotions we actively discuss upcoming sessions on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and on our blogs.  During the event we encourage questions and conversations from the audience through Twitter.  Post-event the recording and slides are available on our blogs and all social properties.  Social media is a core component to our overall webinar strategy.
  • Q: What’s your position on pricing in today’s competitive webinar landscape? Charge or not charge? (Bob W.) A: It depends if your goals are more geared towards lead generation or revenue generation.  A fee based structure does tend to indicate higher quality, but your attendance will drastically reduce. My personal thought (Rachel) is, make more entry level topics free, and consider charging for higher level topics.  Then people have been introduced to your company in the entry level webinars, and are more trusting of paying.
  • Q: Why use Twitter vs. Webex chat/q&A?  As a participant what is benefit? (Kim H.) A: It’s best to offer both as options, as people prefer to use what is more comfortable to them.   People active on Twitter, oftentimes prefer to tweet questions, if they are tweeting highlights from the webinar there anyway. And, as Mike mentioned, the more people are tweeting, the more awareness you bring to the webinar, which will increase current or future registrations.
  • Q: What is the best way to handle dead noise? For example when we pause for Q&A and no one asks anything – how do you suggest on starting questions flowing? (Gwynne J.) A: Come up with a list of potential questions before the webinar starts, so you can answer them if no one is asking questions.  You can also go back and spend more time on some of the slides you ran out of time to discuss or didn’t spend sufficient time  on.
  • Q: What’s the best way to show videos during webinar?  I’ve tried to show videos but very slow is that wifi issue? (Chris Y. and Deb K.) A: Most of the platforms support video but what we have found is it can be an issue depending on the connection of the participant.  We encourage video on our sessions but have found some end users, with slower connections may have issues. 
  • Q: How many of you have dedicated staff to create program vs. use a intermediary to deal with platform provider/setup? (Kim H.) A: We have this as a component of one person’s function.  You would likely not need to budget a full time employee to accommodate.
  • Q: Has anyone used InnerPass? (Tami W.) A: No experience with them but I will check them out!
  • Q: Has anyone done the Ragan Communications webinars? They are all “pay” webinars. Not cheap. Wonder if they’re worth the price?  (Tami W.) A: No experience with them
  • Q: Length?  Can you hold interest longer than 60 minutes? (Kim H.) A: It’s hard to hold people’s attention on a webinar for much longer than an hour, especially if you are still presenting (versus handing Q&A).
  • Q: Do you have to estimate the number of participants when planning webinar? If so, how do you estimate? (Tami W.) A: You should estimate the number of attendees, to be sure your software platform and phone lines can handle the quantity you’re expecting.  The best way to estimate is to base it on prior webinars you’ve given.  If you’ve never done a webinar before, you could ask another host who had held a similar webinar.

For the last 14 months Awareness has hosted a series of free webinars focused on educating the market on the benefits of social media marketing.  Last week’s session featured author Lon Safko discussing the “5 Steps to Social Media Implementation“.  The session itself started off with some technical difficulties that we were able to work out after about 10-15 minutes.  Even though we started a bit late, the session went very well  and, for the most part, those who attended were satisfied with the content of the session.

There is always (and I do mean, always) someone who leaves the session unhappy.  We do our best to feature top notch speakers and content as well as strive to consistently manage the sessions in a professional manner.  That said, every once in a while we run into a hiccup that causes a delay or, in one instance, a cancellation.  What continues to surprise me is the response we get when these issues arise.  Take for example the voicemail below that we received from a woman who had some issues accessing the session (she will remain nameless).

Angry Voicemail from Webinar Participant

I completely understand that a delay or broken link is frustrating.  This is especially frustrating when you have set aside time to attend one of our sessions.  I have been on the other side and it really is annoying.  That said, this voice mail is just funny.  Not so much for what she says but because of her reaction.  Really, I would expect this from my 2 year old, not from a business professional looking to gain more knowledge.

For those wondering, we did respond with a kind apology and helped her fix the broken link which was part of an issue with her email.  We also refunded her admission fee for the session. :-)

In 2009 Awareness hosted 19 webinars featuring a wide range of marketing topics presented by a host of social media thought leaders.  These sessions grew in popularity over the course of the year, attracting thousands of viewers and featuring entertaining and thought provoking conversations.  There was a ton of value in every session and here is my list of the Top 5 Sessions of 2009 (along with some honorable mentions):

  1. End the Hype!!” A Live Panel from IMS with Jason Falls, Paul Gillin, C.C. Chapman, Chris Brogan, and Brian Solis
    Picture by Derek Wilmot

    Photo by Derek Wilmot

    What could top a rock-star panel streamed live from the floor of the Inbound Marketing Summit at Gillette Stadium? This session was particularly exciting for me for a couple of reasons.  First, it was live streamed, which adds a completely new dimension (as well as a new level of stress) to a traditional webinar.  Not only does it mean people tuning in are watching you instead of a set of PowerPoint slides, but it also means there are a ton of technological hurdles you need to consider.  Luckily, Matthew Mamet and the video gurus at Visible Gains stepped up and handled the technology component.  Second, it featured an all-star panel of individuals that I have a lot of respect for in the social media space: Jason Falls, Paul Gillin, C.C. Chapman, Chris Brogan, and Brian Solis.  As the host, it put a ton of pressure on me to ask good questions, facilitate good conversations and to make sure I give each presenter enough air time.  In the end, we had a great conversation, shared some interesting case studies and had a deep discussion on metrics and social media ROI.

    A link to the live session is here

  2. Scott Monty, Ford’s Social Media Strategy, From Zero to 60
    monty_fordI learned more from Scott Monty in 45 minutes than some people I talk to for hours.  It’s rare for a company the size of Ford to provide such a detailed look inside their social media strategy.  Paraphrasing Woody Allen, where he said ”90% of life is just showing up,” Scott Monty, Head of Social Media at Ford Motor Company shared with us how Ford subscribes to the Woody Allen philosophy of social media which is “90% of social media is just showing up.” Its about being where people expect you to be.  Showing up is easy, its the other part that is hard and is often where the majority of corporations fail. Well Ford is certainly doing more than just showing up. With Scott to guide them, the corporation that has experienced its share of challenges,  is now seeing significant success in their social media efforts through their many campaigns. Proof of this success could possibly be attributed to the company’s recently posted profits of nearly $1 billion in its third quarter.Here is a link to the slides and recording (written by Christine Major)
  3. Larry Weber, “Marketing on the Social Web”
    weber224-thumbI have probably seen Larry Weber speak 5 or 6 times and I have read all his books (”The Provocateur”, “Marketing to the Social Web‘ and most recently, “Sticks & Stones“).  I continue to be amazed at how much I learn from him and I continue to be a fan of how he thinks.  This session set a couple of records for Awareness sessions.  First is was the session with the highest pre-registration – over 3000 people signed up to tune in.  Second, it’s our most downloaded set of slides on slideshare (currently has 11,500 views, 118 favorites and 42 embeds).  Finally, this was one of our most active conversations on Twitter.  We received hundreds of comments and questions throughout the session leaving me scrambling to keep up.  I said this on the call and I’ll say it again, if you haven’t read “Marketing to the Social Web” pick it up, its a great read from a guy with a ton of insight on the space.

    View the slides from Larry’s Session here

  4. Mitch Joel, “Six Pixels of Separation
    MitchJoelI had the chance to read Mitch’s book, “Six Pixels of Separation“, the weekend prior to the webinar and had tons of my own questions I wanted to ask.  My only disappointment was that because we received so many questions from listeners on Twitter I never had the chance to get to any of my questions.  Mitch spent time discussing how the world of new media and how to market with a brand-new perspective that is driven by compelling results. The smarter entrepreneurs and top executives are leveraging digital channels to get their voice “out there”-connecting with others, becoming better community citizens, and, ultimately, making strategic business moves that are increasing revenue, Awareness, and overall success in the marketplace-without the support of traditional mass media.

    Click here to view the recording of the session

  5. (Tie) Jason Falls, “My Agency Doesn’t Get Social Media… Who Does?” & C.C. Chapman, “Passion is Contagious”falls_chapman
    Both of these sessions we great because, first, the content rocked.  They weren’t the typical sessions talking about dialog, transparency, and general social media B.S. , they both talked about actually things you can use in your business and gave great advice.  Second, neither session needed a deck, etc.  We could have had a discussion for 45 minutes without relying on decks.  Both C.C. and Jason are expert presenters who have great experiences and backgrounds, but more important is they are great guys who are very easy to talk with.Jason led a discussion called “My Agency Doesn’t Get Social Media… who does???“  and focused on the successes and failures of social media within marketing agencies. He talked about the right questions to ask agencies as you engage them to define and manage your social media strategy and, most importantly, what to look for as you select an agency.

    I have known C.C. Chapman for a couple of years.   We first met when we were both speakers at the New Marketing Summit (now the Inbound Marketing Summit).  Actually, I think our first “in person” meeting was just before I  interviewed him for New Marketing T.V. What’s really interesting is that while we both graduated from Bentley University (granted it was at different times – C.C. is WAY older than me ;-) ) and shared several friends (shout out to @bostonsarah), we first connected through social media. It’s true, social media actually works!  The  first time we actually “spoke” was months before we met in person when we began chatting on Twitter and Facebook.  Since our first meeting at NMS I have seen him speak 5 or 6 times and I always learn something new from him.  This session was no exception.

    (Photo Credit: Jason Falls)

Honorable Mentions:

  1. Chris Brogan, “Trust Agents
    This will go down as the webinar that almost wasn’t.   Our original session was going to be a traditional webinar delivered by Chris focusing on his new book, “Trust Agents“.  Unfortunately, there were some technical issues and we were forced to cancel the session (want the detailed story, click here).  The good news is we were able to coordinate a live session with Chris few weeks later.   The session streamed live from the Visible Gains offices in Waltham.  It’s always great chatting with Chris and this session was no exception. He has some great case studies and really interesting insights on how to use social media as part of your marketing mix and how to grow vibrant communities.  Check out the session here.
  2. Brian Solis, Socializing your Corporate Brand
    Brian’s session focused on “Socializing your Corporate Brand”. I had not had the chance to meet Brian prior to the session but had read his book “Putting the Public back in Public Relations” and have seen him speak on a couple of occasions. What I like most about this discussion was his use of actual, real-life, tactical examples that marketers can use today to start communicating in the social web. The session didn’t focus on theory and spent time addressing the tactical questions of the audience which made for an excellent session.  Check out the session here.
  3. Adam Broitman, Innovative Marketing
    Adam Broitman is founder and ringleader at Circ.us. I met Adam for the first time at New Marketing Summit (now the Inbound Marketing Summit) when we sat down for an interview on the state of new marketing (click here to view it). Adam has great insight into the agency world (spending some time at Digitas, Morpheus and Crayon) and has a very unique (some may say “innovative”) way of thinking about marketing and social media. He’s also a lot of fun to chat with and, as you we see in the recording, he’s both an entertaining and thought provoking speaker.
  4. Rachel Happe, “The Community Maturity Model
    Rachel Happe and Jim Storer of The Community Roundtable along with Adam Zawel, XPC Community Facilitator at Palladium Group presented “The Community Maturity Model.”  During the webinar, Rachel brought us through the different phases of The Community Maturity Model while Adam shared his first-hand experiences building and managing Palladium Group’s community.  According to Rachel, community is about the relationships between the people in your community and not just a content-rich website (the “audience” Brogan referred to). It is these relationships that drive engagement, passion and long term relationships. Reminds me of Ford Motor Company and their success in using social media to drive that passion for its vehicles.

We have some great speakers already lined up for 2010!  Check out the latest and greatest schedule at our website.  Got ideas for a speaker or topic?  DM me @bostonmike or email me mike.lewis(at)awarenessnetworks.com

Mitch Joel

Mitch Joel, Six Pixels of Separation

Is it important to be connected? Mitch Joel, Author of Six Pixels of Separation and President of TwistImage believes we no longer live in a world of six degrees of separation. In fact, we’re now down to only six pixels of separation, which changes everything we know about doing business.

Last week we had the chance to sit down for a session with Mitch who discussed how the world of new media and how to market with a brand-new perspective that is driven by compelling results. The smarter entrepreneurs and top executives are leveraging digital channels to get their voice “out there”-connecting with others, becoming better community citizens, and, ultimately, making strategic business moves that are increasing revenue, awareness, and overall success in the marketplace-without the support of traditional mass media.

It’s was great chatting with Mitch and I, personally, learned a ton during this session.  He has great insight and case studies and has a unique way of simplifying social media marketing in a way the makes it easy to understand the benefits as well as how to get started.  We talked a little bit about the future of social media, how to build vibrant online communities and how marketers can be successful using social media.  The recording is below, I hope you enjoy it.

The conversation on Twitter was also terrific.  Here are my top 10 observations from some of the people joining the conversation on Twitter:

  1. @JayFleischman: 48% of leisure time is spent online
  2. @elysa every single day 20% of ALL searches on Google are searches that have NEVER been done before #awarenessinc
  3. @MVMNT_Mike: If you want to enter social media, do something now! Don’t worry about mistakes, learn along the way #awarenessinc
  4. @REMdreamtime: strategy component is sorely missing from digital agencies via @mitchjoel #awarenessinc
  5. @NunesThompson: Always ask WHY! Say why you’re on #SM, not the fact that you’re on it. #awarenessinc
  6. @AprilMPhillips: “It’s more about your attitude and not about your age.” // @mitchjoel on social media // So true! #awarenessinc
  7. @elysa: 6 things you can do RIGHT now: 1)acceptance 2)digital augments not instead of traditional marketing #awarenessinc (cont) 3)every opt is chance to build/share/grow 4)open up and share more 5)it’s about your attitude not your age #awarenessinc
  8. @garyasanchez: brands need to create online strategy: why are they on twitter rather than just being on twitter – build community! #awarenessinc
  9. @RonArden: #awarenessinc The shiny new objects are just a bunch of tools. You need to decide what to do with these tools to make them useful.
  10. @tamadear: Why are peer reviews trusted more? Because we think our peers’ motivation is closer to our own. #awarenessinc

thinkpositiveWednesday was a tough afternoon for me.  I’m sure many of you were probably following the twitter stream for #awarenessinc Wednesday afternoon and have some sense of what happened but for those that didn’t, here’s a summary of what went down:

For the last few months we have been promoting a webinar with Chris Brogan for a discussion about his new book “Trust Agents“.  Needless to say the demand for the event was extraordinary.  Over 1200 people registered and I was personally excited to have the chance to chat with Chris about the book. Chris and I spoke several times that morning to discuss the slides, flow and logistics and had worked out every last detail. I started the session 30 minutes early, uploaded the slides and walked through the logistics with our Webex producer who was overseeing the call. I typically use producers for our events so they can provide the recording and manage any tech issues that may arise.  This is particularly important for me for this event because we were dealing with a very large crowd and I wanted to make sure everything went smoothly.

Everything was progressing on plan until Chris tried to join the conference bridge 15 minutes prior to the call.  He was having trouble dialing into the phone line and connecting to the Webex meeting manager.  We attempted several different methods for joining Chris to the bridge (including having him call my cell and putting it on speaker phone to broadcast on the bridge) and nothing seemed to work.  While Webex scrambled to figure out the issue with Chris’ line the situation steamrolled at 2PM ET, when a flood of people attempted to join the session.

Apparently, Webex was experiencing an issue that resulted in everyone getting removed from the line the moment they dialed-in.  People were also having difficulty joining the session over the computer.  We were notified that the Webex tech support team was aware of the problem and was working towards a resolution.  Chris and I immediately began tweeting, emailing and chatting with the individuals attempting to join the call.  We tried in vain to get the call started for over 30 minutes and had no luck.  Once it became clear that issue could not be resolved,  we decided to reschedule and notify everyone of the new date/time once we had it.

We learned a lot during the session just from following the Twitter stream. Most importantly, it emphasized the importance of keeping members in the loop while we were attempting to write the ship. The conversation was great and in the words of @gillat “I think that we proved that even though the webinar was canceled, we still had fun creating a conversation on twitter ;-) #awarenessinc”.

A couple of things I’d like to clear up. First, Webex has planned a meeting with me some of their execs today to discuss how we can make this right. And, when I say “make this right”  I don’t mean for myself, Chris or Awareness – but for the people who registered and spent time waiting on the line. (Special thanks to @faithlegendre for helping to facilitate this). Second, while unfortunate, tech issues do happen and I hope people understand that Webex still offers a quality product and service. Let me be 100% clear, in our opinion this was a serious issue that needs to be dealt with but, while unfortunate, we are still working with Webex on a resolution. Are we upset? Yes. But they heard the chatter on Twitter and will work to correct the issue. I am confident of this. I plan on keeping everyone posted on this process as it plays out.  Stay tuned for details…

On behalf of the team at Awareness, I want to personally apologize to everyone who registered and was on the line waiting for Chris and I. Not so much for the tech issue but for not responding to every tweet/note that came in during the session. To be transparent, we were both working hard to try and think of other alternatives and it was difficult for us to manage the overwhelming response.  We appreciate you patience and we think we have a plan in place to make things right.

The good news is we HAVE rescheduled the session for September 9 at 2PM ET. We are working with PermissionTV to make this a live, streaming session.  We will be proving details on this session by Monday at the absolute latest.  In addition, we will be providing a new eBook to everyone who registered. This was written by Chris and was scheduled to be released to the public in late September. We are finishing the book now and will have it our the attendees who registered for the previous session on Monday as well.

Finally, I want to thank everyone for registering and taking some time to wait on the line to hear from Chris. The audience on our webinars consistently ROCK and we always appreciate hearing their feedback (whether good, or bad).

Feel free to post any questions or voice your frustration here.  You can also email me directly at mike.lewis(AT)awarenessnetworks.com or chat with me on Twitter @bostonmike.

Photo credit: Wavy1

Updated August 31:

Just received this note from Webex to share with our attendees:

August 28, 2009

Dear Attendee,

Thank you for your interest in the Awareness Inc., “Trust Agents: Webinar with Chris Brogan” web event held on Wednesday, August 26, 2009.

On behalf of Cisco-WebEx, please accept our apologies for the telephony issues during this Awareness Inc. sponsored event.  We strive to make each of our customer’s events successful and apologize for the issue.  The telephony issue was not the fault of Awareness Inc. and Cisco-WebEx will continue to work closely with Awareness Inc. to ensure that all future Cisco-WebEx events will provide a high-quality experience.

Sincerely,

Cisco-WebEx Communications, Inc.