As most of you know, we helped IBM turn up the social media volume at their Smarter Commerce Global Summit last week. We conducted numerous special #GetRealChat sessions with special guests such as @SHOPdotCA, Whirlpool, ING and even hosted a head to head social marketing analytics and strategy debate with Charlie Cole and Ian Lurie. We hung out in the social lounge, taught people how to get on Twitter, tweet and connect with like minds.
We attended numerous keynotes, breakouts and interviews. We listened, learned, talked and tweeted. We shared, taught, connected, hugged and laughed until we cried. We giggled, karaoke'd, talked gidgets, gadgets, kids ballet, and being #handsfreemama with our family. We shared honest advice on avatars, tweet style, and getting real in both business and life. We met long time online friends for the first time.
Of course we made amazing business connections and nurtured professional relationships. We obtained and earned new clients and got to meet in real life with existing. We met new friends in the keynotes, elevator, hallways and breakfast table.
We nurtured relationships during and after the event on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. We put names with faces and met in real life with teams we had been working with for months via online and conference calls. Some of these relationships would not have even been started or nurtured before, during or after the event if it wasn't for that crazy Twitter bird. Many conversations started with the hashtag a year ago, during a keynote at the conference and continued in the social media lounge or Universal Studios event out! Surreal, really.
Social Media is Real Life
The truth is social is real life folks. Social is not just online. Social is not fake. Social is about connecting like and disagreeing minds. It's about being who you are saying what you feel but doing so in a way that builds brands and relationships. It's about knowing when to talk, share, follow, tweet, post, and even when to keep your mouth shut.
As I always say, it's both art and science. It's measurement and gut. It's personal and professional. Its gidgets, gadgets and kids choir concerts.
It's all of these things because it is about the people. People breathe, smile, laugh, dance, sing, get mad and get happy. People live, talk and share differently. They think, act and do differently.
"The fun part of businesses is figuring out how your target customer, partner and market does all of these things!"
It's Not Social, It's Human!
Tami Cann, Director of Marketing for IBM, says it best in this post, It's Not Social, It's Human. Love her so simple summary on how we connect via social media and in real life in "me too" moments. Bingo! Building the human connection is what is at the core of social media. The heartbeat of social media is still the people. Connecting with the heartbeat of social media, the people is what IBM Smarter Commerce was all about.
Since it was an event focused on commerce one would think the entire show would be about gidgets and gadgets, bits and bytes. Yes, there was plenty of talk, inspiration and education about bits and bytes, methodologies, ecommerce best practices and the list goes on.
However, my key takeaway was that the key to making the bits, bytes, gidgets and gadgets work is knowing how the people want to use them. Knowing how your customers want to engage, learn, be inspired, click and double click. Getting to the heart of who they are, what they want and why they want it is central to your success. For those who know me, you know this is something I tell you in practically every blog post and conversation.
It was wonderful to see every IBM Smarter Commerce event keynote presentation, case study, executive, manager and go-getter say the same thing. The heartbeat of social is catchin' on folks and the businesses that get this are going to succeed. They will be the winners at the end of the day, but not just because of a revenue goal or surviving a layoff. They will be the winners because of the lives they touch, change and enhance with their work and understanding of how the heartbeat of social works, lives, laughs and breathes.
Key Take-Aways - IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit 2012:
1. Chief Customer Officer. Your most important officer in your company is your customer. If you don't know them, you better get to know them, fast. What do they want, like, need and want you to do? How can you help them solve problems? Why should they give you the time of day?
2. Fail fast. Don't wait. If you have problems, figure them out. If you don't have the answers, find them. Build it, test it, analyze it, learn and fail, fast!
3. Relationships are the heartbeat of social media. Need I say more? Watch this video we did a few months ago for our take on this. IBM even won a Guinness World Record for the largest handshake to prove this point. What a fun effort and congrats to them for the win! The best part is they walk the walk, not just talk the talk.
4. Quit making excuses. Regardless if you are big business or small business, quit making excuses. These foundational success elements apply to businesses of all sizes. You don't have to be IBM, SHOPdotCA, Whirlpool, Ing or Staples to care about your customer. Learn from them and implement the same practices for ecommerce, marketing, and relationships in your own business. Don't wait and as #2 above states, fail fast. What do you have to lose?
This is the first post of several I will be writing to summarize my learnings of the event. It has inspired an entire head of posts and conversations. Thank you IBM for inviting me into your community. Thank you for giving back to me and our business far more than we gave with the late nights and time spent. I am postive the relationships will be ever lasting. I thank you for being you and inspiring others to be themselves, share themselves and get to know their customers better than they ever have before.
IBM Smarter Commerce Get Social Page
IBM Smarter Commerce Highlights Video (you can even see yours truly at approx 52 seconds )
Twitter Accounts to Follow: @IBMSmrtCommerce, @PamMktgNut, @MktgNutz, @GetRealChat, @INGnl_Ron, @ShopDotCA, Jacques Leroy, @Jay Henderson, @LenShneyder, @TheCharlieCole, @Portentint, @JoshROINut, @TedRubin, @MediaLabRat, @Chayman, @TrevorNewell, @TamiCann,@Kvox, @AmandaMCarl, @MStribling, @LizStrauss, @KimGarst, @BryanKramer, @socialcmo
Transcripts & summary of all #GetRealChat happenings: #GetRealChat
Private Facebook Group for #GetRealChat