Think Visibility: Mel Carson – Earning and Learning

by Peter Young on September 4, 2010 · 5 comments

For the first time I have attended Dom Hodgson’s Think Visibility conference over in Leeds. Despite the fact I am one of the founders of Sascon over here in Manchester, I always like to get behind other North West ventures – and Dom’s conference is one of the better ones around.

Following a brief introduction from Dom – which introduced all of us to the conference. Mel Carson introduced us to Bing’s Learning and Earning with Social Media

He starts off by introducing some great examples of Social Media in action. Bartells Drug Store in particularly will be happy to hear that Mel did indeed keep his promise to start his next presentation with an example of good search and social media in action.

This leads him in to how Microsoft have approached the path to social media. According to Mel much of this started around five years ago, with the launch of blogs and forums back in 2006 – which allowd Microsoft to have a forum where

  • They could have an official voice
  • Calling Card
  • Ask For Feedback
  • Feature Requests – talks through the fact that its all about listening
  • Signing up Beta Testing
  • Help Advertisers – some people dont want help  they just want the tools to develop things themselves

Further to this Microsoft actively understood the requirement for advocacy. In particular the use of 3rd parties has been embraced by the use of sites such as Sphinn. Twitter as well has played an important part in this evolution (Mel here thanks David Naylor for gettig him into Twitter) – with Microsoft now running two accounts (was previously 3). They monitor these accounts in a daily basis as a tool to help support and promote the Microsoft product. Further to this other channels such as Facebook – also allow greater awareness of their toolset. The benefit for them is the accountability with Microsoft able to determine a number of tangible metrics to ai them.

Other channels Microsoft have utilised increasingly as part of their social media strategy include:

  • Youtube
  • Flickr
  • Windows Live

All allow greater touch points to the community which people can use to communicate with Microsoft. Mel also continues to suggest traditional channels such as PR are a crucial part of the communications strategy – and one that appears to becoming increasingly integrated – something I personal believe is crucial – and so often underutilised by organisations

Whilst having all this content out this is important, understanding and reporting is just as important. IN particular discipline n report is crucial.  Looking at his slides their active use of Buzzmetrics allows them to listen and understand not just how much is being said but sentiment as well – as well as allowing them to respond to individual contacts themselves.

A showreel highlights the fact that events often allow them to attract new followers and visitors. Looking at the slides he is showing he highlights how a myriad of technologies allows them  to support and promote their content in a format that they want – and gives people a really good indication of what they want.

He finally highlights 7 value indicators:

  • Measure growth and translate as reach
  • Think how you’re lowering costs
  • Information and Empowerment leads to increased spend
  • Internal education leads to external evangelism
  • “Earned Media” – Windows 7 Launch (221M Impressions)
  • Think “Social Media Marketing” – Be disciplined
  • Whats the return on in-action (what would the difference be if you didnt get into social media)

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