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GFM had the pleasure of hosting our second annual SXSWi “Denver Download” event with a group of our clients, friends and

A lot of knowledge spread once again at SXSWi
A lot of knowledge spread once again at SXSWi

partners earlier this week. During the event, 10-minute presentations were provided by Taryn Fort of the Colorado Health Foundation, Joe Murphy of The Denver Post, Jen Margoles and Jen Swift of 34 Degrees, and our colleague Jon Woods at GFM. Below are some of the key points from each presenter for those of you who were unable to attend. You can also view the slides from each presentation on the GFM Slide Share account.

Jon Woods – GFM

  • Everyone is listening, but not many of us are actually hearing. We can all stand to pay better attention to what our audiences are talking about on social networks. There is a lot we can learn to help craft our digital
    content plans.
  • From a corporate culture standpoint, businesses and organizations can stand to do a better job of empowering their employees. A little autonomy and trust can go a long way in getting the best out of your employees, especially when expectations are clear.
  • On productivity, SXSWi presenter Scott Hanselman encouraged the crowd to NOT check email in the morning. “If you respond, they will respond,” he stated, and then encouraged all of us to use mornings as a time for critical and strategic thinking.

Taryn Fort – The Colorado Health Foundation

  • We all know that storytelling is key for digital content. But what do we do with those valuable stories after they’ve been published? We need to give those assets a graceful place to live on within our online communities.
  • Similarly, building an online community is the easy part. It’s the constant engagement that eats up our time as community managers. However, that is also the most important aspect – what you do with your community once you’ve built it.
  • Jane Pratt put it best during her SXSWi presentation: You have to identify with your community before trust can occur. Be radically transparent. Know how your audience talks and what they’re looking for.

Joe Murphy – The Denver Post

  • For brands looking to stand out at SXSWi, animals are successful nearly every time. From Deviant Art’s live Llama a year ago to Grumpy Cat at the Mashable House this year…people love animals.
  • To have a presence at SXSW (one that is noticeable) most brands spend upwards of $100,000. It’s not cheap to make a SXSW splash.
  • There wasn’t a single “free-pen-with-the-company-logo-on-it” that Joe received while in Austin. Attendees (and therefore, brands) prefer experiences over tchotchkes.

Jen Margoles and Jen Swift – 34 Degrees

  • A recurring theme from the conference was the cyclical brand approach of listening, cultivating, engaging and then empowering. Successful brands take each of those steps, and in that order.
  • Crowdsourcing was also a common theme at SXSWi in 2013. Jen Swift pointed out ModCloth’s approach of including their users in nearly every part of the brand.
  • Storytelling connects with people. Volkswagon’s campaign to sync driver’s roadtrip details and photos in one online space is a perfect example of empowering audiences to tell their own story while also offering them something of value.

No doubt, there was a lot of valuable content that came from SXSWi 2013 – special thanks to Jon, Taryn, Joe, Jen and Jen for sharing their favorite takeaways and experiences with GFM.

~ Jim Licko

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