Wednesday, October 14, 2009

#smo2009 Northern Virginia Social Media - Potomac Tech Wire Social Media 2009 Business and Government Roundtable

At this morning's Potomac Tech Wire "Social Media Outlook" Breakfast Round Table (follow tweets on #SMO2009), well-known presenters Rohit Bhargava, Adam Lehman, Geoff Livingston, Jake Maas, and Moderator Paul Sherman (Editor, Potomac Tech Wire gave the packed event some great insight and feedback regarding how social media's being used in the business community (and a bit of government social media) - along with their prognostications for the future of players and contexts.

What seems like one of the big winners among comments for businesses to address, is the need to much more proactively - and with an ever-present eye towards search engine optimization (SEO) - "engage the middle" of the online press and content producers. Essentially, those blogerati and twitterati among the social media elite are most likely to consume and propagate your corporate perspectives, announcements or points-of-view if these messages are in fact conveyed as a trusted social media source. In other words, become first an engaged, trused social media community member, and this will drive your ability to convince leading social media publishers to participate in and promote your discussion. Consistent, useful tweeting and content publishing within social media protocol begets great re-tweets from those who matter in your particular online ecosystem. Your contribution of material through social media channels will also work well if it represents not only your corporate POV, but also a bit of "content curation" - i.e. hand-picked selection and enrichment of material and online sources pertaining to your topic or niche. Become a social search engine for your communities; this should not only help build your communities and community presence, but this activity across social media channels is naturally search-engine optimized in terms of time, relevance, connections.

Some of the prognostications included advice for businesses to monitor developments in mobile, location-based social media along with new input methods, the automated intersection of social media channels into "Internet Media" engines, the proliferation of buyer-side capabilities for social media ad placement and publisher adspace inventory management, and the increasing focus on "multi-channel integration" of messaging across both traditional and new social media. Products like Google Wave and Posterous were pointed out as great representatives of developments such as these.

This being predominantly a business-oriented crowd, a few audience surveys revealed things we understand in the DC business community, but perhaps those outside don't - for example, very few in the audience used iPhones, most had Blackberrys, and therefore the point was made that much opportunity awaits those who tap this underserved mobile application market. Also, it's apparent that the well-established and financed platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn will likely be around for some time to come, so it's imperative that businesses invest some time and energy into establishing their strategy for using these channels.

All in all, a really good and current perspective, from de-facto DC and Northern Virginia social media leaders, on the state of the social media industry and its role in corporate life. Thanks to the retweeters in the crowd and on stage, including @kellyolson, @timharv, @tsuder, @GeoffLiving, @rohitbhargava, @loudoun, @lindahagopian, @fairfax_county and @blackstonetech.

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