Last Thursday, I was lucky enough to attend Radian6‘s first user conference Social 2011 located at the gorgeous Marriott Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel. For those of you who do not know, Radian 6 is a media monitoring and engagement company that effectively “helps businesses listen, discover, measure and engage in conversations across the social web.” In other words, they manage social media for companies including Twitter, Facebook, blogs, news sites, discussion boards, video and image sharing sites. Their software gives a comprehensive breakdown of everything the internet ever had to say about a company, and offers an platform to effectively engage with their individual audiences.
Social 2011 was the first user conference thrown by Radian6, inviting some of the biggest names in social media to mingle with those who use the Radian6 platform: essentially combining theory and practice. As a PR student with a interest in social media, this conference was right up my alley. Not only did I get to listen to compelling speakers who are defining the social media industry, but I also got the chance to meet business professionals who work with social media oh behalf of organizations.
Radian6 CEO Marcel LeBrun opened the conference and announced Radian6′s new Insights platform, a web platform that is knowledge-aware and discerns the underlying meaning of conversations, making social media monitoring even easier. It combines over 75 different platforms including Open Calais and Open Amplify and combines them to make Insights more intuitive.
Next the two keynote speakers from Dell were introduced: Chief Marketing Officer, Karen Quintos and Adam Brown, Executive Director of Social Media. Quintos offered Dell’s perspective on social media, showing us footage from their impressive Listening Command Center which is their home base of social media monitoring. Quintos drove home her point by giving us some stats about people who initially were antagonistic towards Dell, became some of their most avid advocates through social media monitoring and good customer service. Brown then continued the discussion, speaking about how social media can be used for what he called “edu-tainment” or using highly-produced content to tell stories. He also went on to stress how social media has to demonstrate it’s value to organizations with demonstrable ROI’s.
After the keynote it was time for some breakout sessions. I first attended one with Radian6′s Amber Naslund, about the highlights from the book she co-authored The Now Revolution: 7 Shifts to Make Business Faster, Smarter and More Social. Naslund dicussed, among other things, how to measure soical media statistics and the right type of person to hire to do social media for your company (hint: it’s not an intern).
Next came some more Radian6 announcements. Executive Vice President Chris Ramsey announced the Summary Dashboard, a new feature of the Radian6 platform that enables a more user-friendly experience. He also announced that Summary Dashboard is formatted to accommodate tablets and mobile devices, prompting the Radian6 Mobile announcement.
After that I attended two of the “unconferences.” The first was a case study in crisis management from Intel. Rick Reed and Ali Ardalan shared with us some of the slip-ups that Intel experienced, one with a print ad and one with a grassroots campaign. There The second part of the “Unconference” was a briefing from Mike Proulx of Hill Holiday about the resonance of social media in television.
The last keynote speaker of the day was President of Twist Image, New York Times Best Seller and Canadian marketing guru Mitch Joel. Joel gave an engaging speech about the future of new commerce and the next steps for social media marketing. He stressed the importance of targeted landing pages and quicker reaction times to match the pace of the 24 hour news cycle.
Overall the conference was an overwhelming success. Although I was only able to go to the first day, it was a great opportunity to network and expand my knowledge on the ever-changing social media industry. As a student about to graduate, one of the things that I found most interesting was speaking with people about what they majored in in college, and how they ended up in social media. To my surprise, not many of them studied PR or even communications. Many of them were business, history or english majors that sort of fell into the industry. One thing that many of the speakers stressed, however, is that those who grew up with social media as an integral part of our communications repertoire are the most capable of adapting at the quick pace that social media demands. So here’s to hoping that my increasing dependence on social media eventually leads to a job.
Samantha is a senior in COM, majoring in Public Relations. Follow her @skops