GroundFloor Media & CenterTable Blog

South by Southwest: Day One Key Learnings

Alexis’ Take…a SXSWi newbie

Yes it is raining and yes, the lines are long. But I consider myself incredibly fortunate that GroundFloor Media invested in my professional development and sent me to SXSWi, and I plan to get the most out of my trip here. Okay, I’ll stop rambling and get to my top learnings of the day because I know this is the 275,698th blog post of the day in your Facebook feed.

•    In “Keeping Loyal Consumers Engaged by Shaking Sh*t Up,” led by CEO and co-founder Ben Lerer, I appreciated the reality check that brands have to be agile or they risk getting left in the dust. Ben emphasized that even if you are tackling a major project, you can break the work off into bite size chunks and launch them when ready. If you wait too long, others will beat you across the finish line.
•    We (the public) are apparently using Google+ wrong, at least according to Vic Gundotra, senior vice president at Google. Even after attending a fireside chat with Vic and social media all star Guy Kawasaki, I still don’t get it. Vic said that we need to be sharing beyond just Google Circles and that millions of people are sharing on Google+ everyday, but maybe not with you. I ask, what’s the fun with that?
•    Invest the time to create multiple entry points for people to find your brand and customize the content for how your audiences interact on each. Did you know you can connect with @Smokey_Bear on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr and more? Of course not every platform is right for a brand (see above opinions about Google+) but your audiences are probably on at least two or three separate platforms.
•     The best conversations take place on the floor by electrical outlets before sessions begin. I don’t think I am going to sit in chairs anymore.

Jim’s Take…a SXSWi sophomore
The nice part about being back at SXSW is that you’ve learned the little, yet important things like where a few of the outlets are in the Convention Center (10% iPhone battery by 1:30pm), and that you should ALWAYS get your badge Thursday night or as early as possible on Friday (rumored 3 hour wait at 1:00pm). Ultimately, what’s great about SXSW are the ideas and conversations:

•    At the Council of PR Firms breakfast, Bob Pearson of WCG had some really amazing insights, particularly regarding research. His main theme was flipping the current “normal” research method on its head – conduct your online research first, and then do your “primary” or focus group research for better results.
•    Content is still a huge discussion – probably because it’s so important. Ben Lerer talked about generating content that works for everyone involved – the company, the end-user, the advertiser, etc. – to have a successful business model. Sounds like a simple concept, but it echoes the 80/20 rule of social media content: interact more with others, don’t just push your own information out if you want to be effective. Its still “social” media.
•    Founder of the fundraising campaign “Movember,” Adam Garone, has more than 857,000 charity mustache growers worldwide. And they handwrite thank you letters for every participant. Don’t forget the “offline” communications and the importance of a handwritten thank you letter. Awesome reminder.
•    One of my favorite things about this crowd: People often walk up to others and ask, “So what do you do?” And in no way is question asked in a pretentious manner… and you get a different answer almost every time.

Day One is concluding with some authentic Texas BBQ – but check back in the morning for a recap of our favorite “non-session” things from Friday in Austin.

~ Alexis Anderson and Jim Licko

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