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Two of us from Fresh Egg travelled to London yesterday, not to buy a Heat magazine, but to attend a small and intimate meet up for social and SEO professionals. The event was at Gow’s Restaurant in Liverpool Street, right next-door to the business hub of London.
As soon as we arrived, we were guided downstairs to a conference room where the atmosphere was already buzzing with creative thought and excitement for the three hotly anticipated speakers.
It was a great event for Distilled to organise and share some of their thoughts. There were some excellent canapés too, so thanks for them too! Anyway, here’s a brief recap of the main points in each speech for those who couldn’t make the evening:
Charlie Osmond – Fresh Networks
“Social Media: Integrating Offline & Online”
Charlie from Fresh Networks started by discussing two of - in his opinion - the most under-used social tools that you should have in your armoury. These were podcasts, and the use of the app, Instagram, for photo sharing and creation.
How can you use these? Well Charlie claims social media for business is about capturing peoples’ moments of delight and amplifying them to an audience.
Charlie sees the value of social in communications and services. For example, social platforms should be used for customer satisfaction, answering queries and engaging with the brand on a more personal level, rather than continually plugging your products and services. This is something we also believe in at Fresh Egg.
A couple of well integrated campaigns that were brought up included attempts by Mini, allowing people to chase someone who collected a virtual mini in the real world through the GPS functionality of smart phones. The winner was the person who ‘owned’ the virtual Mini for the longest without it being taken. The prize? A brand new Mini Countryman.
The Ushuaia Hotel in Ibiza was also credited with its inventive take on how social media can share their hotel guests’ experiences, with dedicated Facebook sharing podiums around the hotel to tell people about the fun you are having, coming back to Charlie’s point of sharing moments of delight.
One particular campaign he showcased was Fresh Network’s work with Topshop.
The campaign involved styling people in some of the biggest Topshops in the world, and taking photos of them using Instagram. These photos were then shared on Facebook, along with a check-in for the venue.
The campaign generated the Topshop fan page the equivalent activity of a year in just the four days it ran.
Richard Baxter – SEOgadget
Richard from SEOgadget spoke about Game Mechanics in social interaction. This is the principle of improving interaction on websites by rewarding users for doing things that help grow your business. The results of this can help you find new sources for traffic and helps make the things on your website more fun for users.
Richard states that gamification is all around us in the real world, and many companies are using it already without you even realising. The question is though, HOW do you gamify your offering?
The points that Richard brought up were:
Do any of these sound familiar to you? Think about websites such as LinkedIn, always encouraging you to add more to your profile to reach that 100% complete status.
Getting to this provides a certain satisfaction to LinkedIn users, and this is a typical example of how the company has lured you into improving the content for its site.
Other great examples of this can be found on eBay, with its reputation scoring of sellers, on forums through status levels and contribution points, which can all be monetised too if done well.
Take Zynga for example, which sell the virtual currency to help you get ahead and interact with its products.
Consider what people want from a gamified system:
FourSquare do this really well, and this will be covered in a separate blog post in the not too distant future.
Examples of gamified systems creating buzz at the moment come from a number of companies. Notable examples come from ‘Lockerz,’ who reward people for uploading and sharing their content on Twitter with discounts and rewards around the web; basically an incentivised twitpic.
Also design community ‘Dribbble’ encourage budding designers to submit their work for rating amongst their peers, creating free exposure for artists and giving kudos to reviews drives status and social gratification.
What can you use this for? Well think of how you can get your users/customers to share their experiences, drive referrals and create reviews for your products. These are all valuable when it comes to creating quality, original content for your site.
Will Critchlow – Distilled
“Steal this presentation”
Will from Distilled opened his headline presentation by questioning where the rules are with the web. In terms of doing things differently, and creatively, where are the boundaries and can you have fun with them?
He said there is plenty of inspiration all over the web. He encouraged ‘stealing,’ well not in the strict sense, but find good ideas that have been poorly executed and make them better. Rework other projects, other apps and link building strategies to get what you want out of them.
Will referenced Banksy, the famous street artist who has a reputation for thinking outside of the box and seeing things that other people don’t.
Will also claimed a lot of people are scared about taking on their competitors, although a playful approach in this way can generate amazing PR. For example a recent battle between BMW and Audi through advertisement led to Audi posting a billboard next to the BMW dealership in the USA, attempting to shame them. BMW responded creatively by using the showroom as a platform for a huge comeback:
This ‘naughtiness’ is great linkbait and having fun is really important too. It is suggested to use the news for inspiration, and being topical to generate the biggest buzz. He continued to say that being creative is the future of the web, and thinking (and doing) outside the box is going to be the future of online PR and linkbuilding.
Will also encourages everyone to learn basic code, so they can channel their creativity and build basic tools and programs for themselves.
This coding skill can become creative too, after all code is content! From an SEO point of view, you can create custom 404 pages to generate links, this is a great place to put ‘baity’ content. This sort of creative approach can be taken online or offline, through mobiles and social networks so there are plenty of versatile ways out there to be creative.
I want to thank Distilled for holding this event, and if you are hungry for this sort of great insight, then check out Search Love, it's a big SEO conference taking place in London at the end of October. I look forward to subsequent ones taking place throughout 2012.