Chris Brogan - virtual tweets from stageChris Brogan took to the stage for today’s opening key note at Social Media World Forum. He challenged the audience out of social media complacency. We have three major ways in which people experience our business: internet/pc, mobile/mobile web and TV (broadcast) – and, of course, face to face. 30% of business still requires human to human contact, so we need to blend the physical world to the virtual (and no-one loves QR codes says Chris – they are not the answer).

Look at your company website on your mobile. Does it look beautiful? Does it give you the impact you expect? Is that hard to fix? “Preposterous” is Chris’s new favourite word, and it applies to much of what is done in marketing today. Does your email newsletter look like your website? Are you proud of that? If so, why! Your email marketing isn’t about the design, it’s about building relationships. Email newsletters with no reply address? Why! Email is a two way communication mechanism. Have a call to action, to communicate with a human (Chris has a 70% open rate on his email marketing). It needs to be 350 words or less – if you are reading it on your mobile device, your customers are probably doing that too. Make it readable.

Likes (and their kind) are not an end in themselves. Likes, says Chris, represent an opportunity for business. No more names to broadcast too, or financial capital, but opportunities to be developed.Your sites and online presence are ‘outposts’ – they direct people to where you would like them to be. Create interesting, usable content – and that includes YouTube content too. And remember, you don’t get paid on views, you get paid on business results – so make it useful to your customers. In the same way that business cards aren’t sales, neither are likes or views.

Find the most passionate people in the business (and that might be customer service, it might not) and help them produce content and connect them with your customers! Think about the on-going use of that content. Oh, and make heroes, says Chris, make your buyers heroes. There are three stages of your brand, and the customer is central to all of them:

  1. What you are known for.
  2. What people say about you.
  3. They way people use you as part of their story telling about their brand

Social is where people are. Social is the way that information moves forward. Brands ARE social. The ones that will be successful in the future are the ones that recognise that this is already the case. And remember, people don’t talk to logos, they talk to humans!