Mel kicks off the conference with a couple of social media engagement examples.

Bartell Drugs are a chain of 10 or 15 stores, family friendly and have got into social media. They are on Twitter and Facebook. Mel went with his wife recently, and found a magazine called ‘Glutes’ while browsing the magazine stand – this is a magazine dedicated to enhancing a man or woman’s bum. Mel thought this would be a perfect image to Tweet – and having done so, Bartell Drugs replied and engaged with him.

They are now following each other on Twitter, and because he has gained a bit of a relationship with the stroe, he will be going back there instead of a rival drug store.

Learn and Earn

A social media white paper by MIcrosoft – aimed at B2B. This is a story behind the team at Microsoft and social media, explaining how they got involved and how they engage. Apparently roughly 40,000 people within Microsoft do some kind of blogging or social media.

It’s all about making your message discoverable.

Microsoft Advertising

They were given the task of setting up a community around Adcenter – 5 years ago. They setup a blog and forums in 2006 for the following reasons:

– to have an official voice online
– a calling card
– to ask for feedback
– feature requests (most visited forum thread)
– signing up beta testers
– help advertisers help themselves (It’s about giving people the tools to help themselves)

Microsoft Advertising are also on 3rd parties, such as Sphinn and Search Engine Watch – with various experts engaging with other people in the industry.

They have two distinctive Twitter accounts:

– @MSAdvertising (11000+ followers)
– @adCenter (5000+ followers)

They are used roughly 16 hours a day, from the UK to US.

They have done nothing with Facebook, but they stream images and links from the blog which has led it to grow organically. They hope to get into Facebook advertising very soon.

Other places they have presences:

– YouTube (done nothing with it, but growing organically)
– Flickr (they upload photos from events and places they are at)
– PR – he said this is something that seems to come last in the order of social media. MS Advertising work very closely with their PR team, and sometimes just create blog articles that are distributed to ‘buddy’ list of connections, instead of spending the time creating a PR piece. This is very powerful.

Finally, ‘search’ –

MS Advertising own 7/9 results on the search engine results page for the key phrase “b2b social media white paper

Capturing Buzz and Sentiment

Capture the data – track absolutely everything available. Sentiment, buzz, etc across all channels. This is really crucial to be able to understand how people are talking and engaging within the social sphere – and this needs to be reported back to be able to understand how to move forward.

Feedback – good feedback can be used as case studies and to further engage with users of your company/brand/product. Being out there and engaging with people opens a lot of doors.