Sep 27

A Whole New SMC

I attended my first Social Media Club New York event last week. I’ve been active in the SMC Seattle chapter for four years, so I was eager to get involved here and meet some new folks. The event was held at the PR Newswire offices and as I arrived I saw a familiar scene of a table with hors d’oeuvres and many professionals mingling with wine and beer in their hands. A woman greeted me and it turns out this wasn’t actually the SMC event. I made my way back to a small conference room where the SMC event was being held.

There were about 15 people sitting around a conference table and a few snacks, beers, sodas and a bottle of wine or two on a table in the back. I was a bit surprised because this was so different from the huge, sold-out SMC events back in Seattle. But I sat down and got ready to meet some new people and learn something.

Stephanie Grayson, @critiques4geeks, presenting at #SMCNYC

Stephanie Grayson, @critiques4geeks, presenting at #SMCNYC

The speaker for the event was Stephanie Grayson, Social Media Editor at Yahoo! Finance. She talked with us about real-time social media response, which is a topic I have experience with and have written about recently. I was interested to hear what Stephanie would have to say on this subject.

One of the benefits of a smaller group is the ability to make it more of a conversation, rather than a lecture. Stephanie lead us in a discussion about the risks and rewards businesses must weigh when deciding whether or not to respond to a trending topic or event. For example Stephanie asked us, how different would the story have been for Oreo if the blackout at the Super Bowl turned out to be related to a terrorist attack?

@Mr_McFly: Risks include: Insensitivity, wrong info, brand damage, backlash, public safety, financial, legal, etc. #SMCNYC

What I really loved was what we did next. We broke into two groups and we were each asked to “create” a company, one B2C and one B2B. We needed to determine our company name, what products or services we sell, and our competitors. This was just the first step so we could get to a real-time marketing situation simulation, but I loved how into it everyone got! There were some super smart marketers in that room who started to build a business plan. There was discussion and debate about our bestselling product, our name, our specific value proposition… it was so detailed I was pretty sure we were all going into business together as soon as the event was over!

After each team established their fictional company, Stephanie gave us our real-time marketing situation. It happened to be Talk Like a Pirate Day, so that fit well for this purpose. Of course, this example goes back to what I’ve said before that you need to be prepared.  But there will always be things we miss; special days or events that we forgot to plan in our brand’s editorial calendar. These things will happen, so it is good to be prepared for what you will do.

I won’t retell every part of the simulation, but it was definitely a fun and educational experience. If you want, you can read more in this recap of the event. I did want to share my key takeaways from the night, which go along with my earlier post on real-time marketing.

@PRNTech: Opportunities for rewards in social response can be anytime, don't limit yourself to specific perennial events #SMCNYC ^KL

Key Takeaways:

  • Create a calendar of events and special days that relate to your brand.
  • Create a process to get approval quickly when last minute and after-hours events occur. Who do you call? Who gives the final approval before you publish?
  • Keep an eye out for opportunities to engage in trending topics and events. Pay attention to the trending hashtags on Twitter, but make sure you know what it’s about BEFORE you jump in
  • Build a process to work quickly – time is of the essence with trending topics!
  • Stick to you brand voice and keep it related to your business
  • Think it through – what are the possible outcomes and how will you address them?
  • Do what you can in the time you have. You might not have time to create a full video or even a static image. If so, then craft the best damn copy you can for a text-only post.

Overall, it was a terrific night with some savvy professionals. I actually really appreciated the size of the group which allowed us to be more interactive and engage with one another. I’m definitely looking forward to the next Social Media Club NYC event.

What tips do you have for real-time marketing? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

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