Web 2.0 2011 SF Follow-Up: Social Media Big Draw

The Smarter Message for Better Business and Sales
2011’s Web 2.0 San Francisco conference at Moscone Center was a good one. Like others, I have some ideas for the suggestion box for next year’s gathering, but all in all, I feel O’Reilly Media and UBM TechWeb offered up a valuable event.


That Said, A Few Impressions

Attendance seemed down this year and—this is hard to define—the whole affair wasn’t as exciting as it has been before. People didn’t seem as involved and upbeat about being there as they have been in prior years.

Some Keynotes were downright disappointing. To me, a Keynote presentation should be something special. Most of the ones I saw were just 10 to 20 minutes long. Some presenters rushed their deliveries (almost as if they didn’t want to be there). Plus, some topics just missed the mark. Like Google Chief Economist, Hal Varian’s, “The Value of Search.” Or, inDinero’s Jessica Mah, whose 10 minutes boiled down to work smarter (with the help of metrics) instead of harder. A revelation, no doubt (especially for a 21 year-old). But probably not for the majority of the audience. (I don’t mean to criticize Hal or Jessica, just the message choice and the tight time slot they were put in). Jessica is very accomplished and has worthwhile and interesting ideas to share).

Web 2.0 suggestion: cut the number of Keynotes offered and allot more time to the best on trending topics and from noteworthy speakers/companies. Focus on topics that capture the imagination and command the attention of attendees who committed their time and financial resources to be there. And, invite speakers who are willing to work up a great presentation (even if it lasts only 15 minutes).

Top prize to the O’Reilly Media professionals handling Customer Service. (Thank you, May Munji.) Ditto for the Moscone Center staff. All helped make this conference a success.


Social Media Was A Big Draw For Attendees

Which isn’t surprising. There’s a growing sense of urgency about getting involved in social media marketing, which is still new to many (and still hard to grasp for many, as well). This session track seemed to confirm that. What will also become clearer to businesses is that, although anyone can practice SMM, it can pay to have someone do it for you.


“Effective Facebook Ads & Applications” pulled them in. The popularity of this 3-hour workshop, led by Dennis Yu (@dennisyu) and Justin Kistner (@justinkistner) of WebTrends, is a nod to the growing interest in learning how to take advantage of Facebook’s reach to achieve business goals.

It covered:

  • Key concepts of, and strategies for, building Facebook campaigns
  • Creating a Facebook page for your business
  • Augmenting your own site with fan-building widgets
  • Sending highly personalized messages to segmented audiences with Facebook ads
  • The variety of apps that can help you draw, engage and motivate more Fans
  • Who a Fan is
  • How to attract and engage Fans to move them through the lead funnel to your desired outcome
  • The exponential reach of ads targeting Fans and friends of Fans

Dennis and Justin also reminded us of one simple but highly effective Fan building aid: add a Like button to your website.

Facebook isn’t for every business yet, especially a b-2-b whose customers behave differently than b-2-c Fans. Practically everyone I talked to after the session agreed on that. But there’s no denying the potential it offers to so many others.


Erica Kuhl (@ericakuhl), Community and Social Media Manager at salesforce.com, presented “Setting Your Social Media Strategy.” She spoke about the growing importance and potency of social media—customers, prospects and employees are becoming more and more engaged. If you like, you can view her presentation yourself.

In a nutshell, here were her 10 tips:

  1. Where do you begin? Start by listening, auditing comments, analyzing and organizing the info to gauge what’s actionable. Pinpoint where and how you can get involved in conversations about your company or specialty.
  2. Understand your audience. Creating personas can help. (Leverage Forrester’s Social Technographics Ladder to help determine personas/audience.)
  3. Decide where to focus and how to use the tools. The community on your site (blog, learning center, forum, FAQs, etc.)? The more official social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc.)? Other conversations on the web (Yelp, Amazon, news channels, etc.)?
  4. Define your goals—do you want to cut costs, increase revenue, improve SEO, drive customer satisfaction, build brand awareness? Create a vision statement and manage everything from a Dashboard so you can demonstrate to stakeholders the impact of social media on your objectives and company.
  5. Start small, but strong. Make a big splash at the beginning. Have your plan in place to make the most of the initial response.
  6. Define roles and responsibilities: who will function as Social Media Strategist (the force behind your program and ROI)? Who will be Community Manager (the face for customers)? Train employees in social media policies and best practices.
  7. Join the conversation. Welcome people, respond to questions, keep the conversation moving.
  8. Define your organizational structure to better understand which social media tools fit your model or where you should focus. Is yours organic, centralized, hub and spoke, multiple hubs?
  9. Acknowledge your top contributors! They’re the ones who willingly advocate on your behalf so treat them very well. Reward and support them.
  10. Map social media to your business to make the most of the your opportunity: community on your site, your social media channels, third-party conversations about your company, and, social CRM (internal and partner collaboration).


Ruben Quinones (@rubenq), Director of New Media at Path Interactive had a wonderful session on “Creating and Sustaining a Winning Brand Page on Facebook.”

His was a straightforward presentation that touched on:

  • The lead funnel
  • An engagement policy
  • Search engine optimizing your page
  • Apps for your page, including: RSS Graffiti and Hootsuite, YouTube video box, the Reveal/Non-Reveal tab, UStream for a live feed on your page and more
  • Facebook ads—how to create, how to avoid ad fatigue, targeting techniques
  • Facebook Insights to see engagement numbers and content opportunities

Ruben also discussed strategies for getting involved and staying engaged. You can see his presentation, too.


Sandra Fathi (@sandrafathi), President of Affect Strategies, likewise offered an excellent presentation. “Social Media & Integrated Marketing Programs: How to Monitor, Measure & Demonstrate Results” underscored the importance of planning and analyzing performance, where your social media program is concerned.

Sandra’s focus was on ways to make sure your program starts off on the right track, becomes effective and stays that way.

“Fish where the fish are,” was her opening recommendation. That includes print as well as online, which I’m sure woke some people up. As she rightly pointed out, with so many businesses strictly marketing online, the potential to capture your target’s attention with print is refreshingly wide open these days.

Sandra also talked about:
• Key performance indicators that can be measured and are tied to the platform you plan to engage on
• Tracking, tripwire and milestones for your campaign
• Mapping out a plan that helps you avoid being overwhelmed by choices
• Establishing rules of engagement
• Nourishing followers with good content
• Monitor, measure, analyze, tweak—and repeat

Be sure to check out Sandra Fathi’s presentation online.


As so many are discovering—and what sessions by WebTrends, Erica Kuhl, Ruben Quinones and Sandra Fathi demonstrate—the social media opportunity has incredible potential. It also requires planning, training, talent, discipline, the right temperament for engaging and ongoing involvement for campaign growth and continued success. An enormous effort is involved. And as we read and see daily, the rewards can be well worth that effort.

There were many other good sessions. The SEO & PPC Strategies Workshop was packed. HTML5 Now (also a digital tutorial by the presenter, Tantek Celik) updated the adoption status by the major browsers. The Real Lessons Learned From Launching 24 Brands On Twitter was excellent—a stong “how-to” derived from in-depth, hands-on experience. And, Using Collaboration To Solve Creative Design Problems delivered by the delightful Maria Giudice of Hot Studio was a crowdpleaser and, happily, a break from the beaten track.

You can check out Web 2.0 in New York this October. Or next March when it returns to San Francisco. I’ll see you there!


Contact Liz Manning at liz@thesmartermessage.com.



  1. Liz,

    Great coverage– forgot to thank you for it. We are doing a 3 hour session on Facebook at Web 2.0 NYC. It’s all new material, since things have changed a LOT since San Francisco. Hope to see you there!