This Thursday I have the chance to moderate a panel titled "Engaging your client community via blogs and social media" at the New New Internet event right here in the Washington DC area. Aside from being one of the few local events that I have the chance to speak at after my whirlwind of events over the past few months everywhere but DC, it is also a sign of what Geoff Livingston (a great blogger and fellow member of my panel) called the "DC’s red hot internet scene." Frankly, that’s nice to hear because it’s easy to feel forgotten as a DC blogger if you are not writing about politics or the city itself. Washington Post’s Blogger Directory doesn’t even have a category for business or marketing.
But small gripes aside, the tech space in DC has always had an interesting home and New New Internet is shaping up to be not just a great who’s who of people in the DC area, but has also attracted some international bestselling authors, influential bloggers and top government officials. Tim Ferriss will be there, as well James Suroweicki, Ted Leonsis, and Om Malik. The full list of speakers goes on and on with some amazing names and personalities. Our panel has a post-lunch spot in the main conference hall and is the main marketing panel of the day – so I am anticipating a great turnout. We had a call with our panelists yesterday to chat about our session and it is one that I think is going to offer some great insights about using blogs and social media.
Look for a recap from me on the entire event later this week – and if you happen to be in DC and can make it, click on the link from my sidebar for a $100 discount on your registration. Also, check out Geoff’s post on our panel from earlier this week where he asked a few of us to answer the question of what we saw as the greatest change that social media was bringing to marketing. Here was my response:
I believe the greatest change that social media brought to marketing can be summed up in two words … accidental spokespeople. Marketing was once about creating and controlling the messages that built perception of your brand. Now those messages are being crafted by others. Those others are your accidental spokespeople, who are speaking for your brand even though they have not been trained or key messages or even authorized by you to do it.
Yet the answer is not to give up control – the answer is to share it. And control is the wrong word anyway … because now that everyone and anyone can speak for your brand, the important thing is to find your own accidental voices to tell your story. These may be your employees, or they may be your best and most vocal customers. Call them citizen marketers or call them consumer evangelists.
Either way, the change that social media has brought to marketing is the opportunity to find your new spokespeople in real voices. Whether or not you succeed depends in large part on how effectively you interact with these voices.
Here is our full list of panelists:
Gary Vaynerchuck, WineLibrary.tv, Director of Operations
Frank Gruber, AOL, Product Manager
Geoff Livingston, Livingston Communications, CEO