This past Monday, I had the absolute pleasure of attending Gravity Summit at the Harvard Faculty Club in Cambridge, Massachusetts put on by social media wizards Beverly Macy (also teaches social media marketing at UCLA) and Rodney Rumford (also co-founder of TweetPhoto which I’m looking forward to checking out!)
The line-up for the day included big name brands sharing their social media experiences, strategy and advice for using social media successfully. And the folks in attendance literally came from all over the country to witness the event, which speaks of the level of information one can achieve when attending.
Troy Kelley – EVP & Chief Digital Officer @ Arnold Worldwide
Andy Mitchell – VP of Digital & Development Marketing @ CNN
Todd Defren – Principal @ Shift Communications
Josh Levine – Rebel Industries
David Puner (aka Dunkin Dave) – Social Media Manager @ Dunkin Donuts
Ramon deLeon (aka The Pizza Guy to Know in Chicago) – COO @ Domino’s Pizza Chicago
If you missed the live streaming of the event on CNN.com/live on Monday, you can view videos of some of the folks on my YouTube Channel (some also embedded below). Hard to pick a favorite…Of course, I know EMC’s story very well, since I live it every day and am proud to be a part of the force and strategy.
Rather than do a play-by-play of the day, I thought I’d summarize the key points by picking a few keywords to describe the ongoing message of the entire day at Gravity Summit. I’d have to say they are listen, learn, engage, and empower.
Listen to what people are saying about your brand, whether it’s your personal brand or your company brand. Listen. Listen to what is being said, take it in, and use it as an opportunity to learn. In the opening remarks with Beverly Macy and Rodney Rumford, it was said “even if you’re never going to use social media in your business, you need to know how to listen to what your customers are saying.” I couldn’t agree more.
Learn from what is being said by others. There is an unprecedented ability to gain insights into what people are saying about your brand like never before through all social media channels. It’s like having the ability to finally be the fly on the wall we’ve all wanted to be at some point. As Rodney Rumford said “use social media to solicit feedback and be ready for what you’re going to hear – the good, the bad, and the ugly.” Take it as an opportunity to learn how to be a better brand and educate. Negative comments are such a huge opportunity to learn and keep people engaged. And, as Polly Pearson said, if people are complaining, it’s a sign they still care.
Engage with people via social media. I’ve always said that people want to connect with people, not nameless, faceless brands. Troy Kelley shared “markets are reporting getting more engagement out of social media than any other traditional marketing tools,” so now is your chance to get out there, engage, and be the central voice for your brand. As Hammer said, “perception has trumped reality, and if you’re allowing somebody else to control the perception of your brand, you’re in trouble […] being at the center of the flow of information about you and your brand is the key to managing your brand.”
Empower others to not only find out about your brand via social media, but also empower your employees to use social media in a transparent way. I agree with Gary Vaynerchuk that “social media’s power and potential are massively underrated.” I love Todd Defren’s take on social media: “social media is not about public relations, it's about public relationships […] social media is not about creating something new every day, but leveraging what you already have in creative ways.” It’s all about empowering people to take advantage of the opportunities social media presents to them and using social media to enhance information and relationships as we know them.
The only constructive feedback I have is that it seems like people were jumping out of their seats to engage with the presenters a bit more, and at times things felt a bit rushed. So, perhaps having one or two fewer presenters with a touch more time for Q&A would be a good thing? Hard to say for sure, but I’d love to see a bit more interactivity in the summit. After all, social media is about having conversations and building relationships.
All in all, a fantastic summit! My first of many, I hope! Kudos to Beverly and Rodney for a fantastic showing and event!
A few vids I shot from the event. See more on my YouTube Channel.
MC Hammer Keynote, Part 1