One of the best parts of SXSWi is avoiding the crowds at a high profile panel or presentation and trying out some of the sessions outside of the Convention Center. While Edward Snowden was on stage at the convention center, Jon and I had the chance to hear several great speakers that ranged from tactical (but extremely useful) to extremely artistic in nature. Here are our highlights from Monday at SXSWi 2014:
- Reddit is a foreign concept to most people when they first look at the platform, but we all know that it really is the “Front Page of the Internet,” it breaks news days before any other site, and could be an incredibly beneficial place for brands IF you know how to do it right. Tips from the “You’re Using Reddit Wrong” session include understanding the platform and language, being willing to fail (as long as you admit to it), following along with frequent conversations (“DAE” is “Does Anybody Else,” “Shut Up and Take My Money” is full of interesting innovations), and knowing that Reddit is always, always on. Brands can’t just come in and out of the conversation when its convenient. You can see the presentation on Reddit here.
- “The 5 P’s of Video” was a tactical session about creating successful videos. Its easy to develop a video and get so caught up in the production that you fail to think about things like how you’re packaging the video or how its being promoted. Mapping out the entire video project – from concepting to promotion – will allow for success. The most interesting comment was, “The data we have proves that its not about the length of a video, its about the story.”
- In “Taking Risks for Great Storytelling” artist Tanja Hollander discussed her goal of photographing all of her 600+ Facebook friends in their living rooms – and the great things she’s learned about storytelling along the way. One of them being, “As artists we’re not just creators, we’re innovators, hackers, critical thinkers, scientists and explorers. And all of those things can also be artists in return.”
- I joined Jim at the morning’s Reddit session and also find it to be extremely useful. I am already a moderate user/visitor of the site and as such, I had some different takeaways from the panel than he did. Yes, it can be a somewhat hard site to learn to navigate with a set of ever-evolving rules that make it hard for a brand to integrate itself. But that’s what makes the platform special. If done right, a brand can win over a notoriously fickle audience.
- The Reddit discussion also got me thinking about brands on social media in general. You do not have to be on Facebook. You do not have to be on Twitter. Marketing and social media managers typically join those platforms solely because they have large users bases. But if your core users aren’t on those platforms then what’s the point? Sure, if we all had unlimited resources it might make sense to be everywhere. But since most brands are limited by budgets and resources it makes more sense to spend time researching where your users are already engaging, and then enter the conversation in an organic and authentic way.
- One of the “out of the box” sessions I attended today was a discussion with the creators of the Empire Project, an immersive documentary that explores how the conditions of the past define our lives in the present. The creators spent four years making a multi-medium experimental “film” that explores the effects of Dutch colonialism. Yea, it was a bit different. The creators knew that today’s individual consumes media in small bites rather than long, time-consuming chunks so they decided to tell their story in a fragmented, multi-platform manner that allows the user to shape their own narrative. Very cool stuff that I recommend you check out at http://empireproject.eu/.
- The final session of the day was a conversation on turning brand “lurkers” into some of your most powerful advocates. Because the talk featured two social media and marketing heavy hitters from General Motors I expected some great insights. Instead, I got a boring, 101-level talk that really didn’t amount to anything other than some examples of one-off customer interactions from Chevy. Here are their five steps to create “soul mates”:
- Know yourself before you can love someone else
- Show me what you’re working with
- Listen, really listen
- Everyone matters
- Make moments – big and small
- Keep things fresh
~ Jim and Jon