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#Social2011 Opening Keynote: A new + better way

April 7, 2011

#social2011 @Lebrun on stage keynoting #radian6 Thanking the community (photo via @rwang0)

I was a few minutes late to this morning’s opening keynote (silly registration lines), but when I entered the Pacific Grand Ballroom, I was met with a packed crowd. After some shimmying in the dark, I found a seat and settled in to hear Marcel LeBrun (CEO, Radian6) welcome those of us who’ve come to learn more about social listening and how Radian6 is making it easier and more accurate to do.

Jumping right in, LeBrun brought up some great fundamental thoughts about to social listening.

First, social listening allows us to engage with our consumers and audience when they’re at a point of need, rather than interrupting them when they don’t need or want to hear from us. This allows for and creates real-time, meaningful experiences and it changes the way we (should) drive sales.

Next, LeBrun advocated that brands move away from “what’s always been done” to “taking actions and being where our consumers are.” He used P&G as a great example. P&G invented the soap opera and for the past 77 years, they’ve been a leading sponsor for the daytime shows. Within the last year however, the decided to stop sponsoring the very entity that they created. Their consumer base has moved away from TV and they could better engage with them if they invested money and resources into social media.

Finally, he talked about the relationship between social media and trust. Whether we as marketers like it or not, consumers don’t automatically trust brands. They’re skeptical and understand that at the end of the day, brands are trying to sell them something.  Who they do trust however are their friends and those who they’re connected to via their social networks. A brand’s message is able to last longer on the web when it is propagated through a network of trust. So, when my friend sends me a cool video, my first thought isn’t, “They’re trying to get me to buy something.” Rather, I think, “They know me, understand my likes and interests and think that this is something I will enjoy.”

For brands to find success here, they should listen to and understand what their consumers are talking about online and take steps to create content tailored to their likes and interests.

Overall, LeBrun’s keynote highlighted a very important thing: this space is more than just social listening. It’s listening combined with effective action and engagement.

I couldn’t agree more.

(photo via @rwang0)

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