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Live Blog: Social Media – Gold Mine or Fool’s Gold?

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The following is a recap of WWJ’s Social Media Business Breakfast at Schoolcraft College in Livonia:

9:30 a.m. — Do you need an industry expert to run a social media program in a particular industry? Paul: Ford Motor Co. didn’t. I didn’t know a lot about health care, but I was really eager to learn. It helps to have someone who is a voracious learner. To handle social media you have to be a voracious learner to begin with. Smith: I think you have to be careful. We have a client who is in the video game industry, and they speak their own language. You don’t have to be an expert but you have to learn quickly and respect the audience. Buck Head: When Severely Social went to work for Valvoline we did not know oil. We give them our tools, they give us their tools and we made it work.

9:20 a.m.: What’s the next big thing? Smith: Mobile. As I look around the audience, everyone is on their phone, tweeting or Facebooking. Over a billion apps at the Apple App Store. A lot of those are great marketing vehicles. Vorhees: Mobile apps like Foursquare. Apps that will blast out where you are. Paul: Apps and devices that share data across various other apps and devices. Kushner: Smartphones, constant connections. Buck Head: QR, quick reference codes and scanners. It’s huge in Japan, not quite so big here. His Realtor uses it to list houses. Facebook currency is the next big thing.

9:05 a.m. — Companies in heavily regulated industries like health care need to have constant and open conversations with their management and legal teams about what can and can’t be posted in social media.

Recommended books on social media: Shannon Paul recommends “The Now Revolution.” Buck Head: “Facebook Marketing For Dummies.” But he cautions that any book, by the time you read it, is outdated. Kushner advises reading newsletters that are frequently updated. Vorhees recommends “Social Influence,” a social psychology book. And “Trust Agents” is recommended by Smith.

- Check out PHOTOS from the event –

- Video Q&A @This Link -

9 a.m. — When it comes to trolls — people who intentionally disrupt a social media site — panelists say you can usually count on your fans to defend you, but occasionally you may need to ban someone.

8:50 a.m. — A question from the audience, How do you find a social media person who will speak with your voice? Buck Head: I would say proven results. MSU’s Vorhees: You need to find someone you have a sincere connection with, who really understands your business.

What are panelists’ favorite social media sites? Stan: SocialMediaExaminer.com. Clay: A variety of favorite sites. Shannon: Harvard Business Review. Eric: Mediapost. Buck Head: YouTube, because video is so popular.

Average starting salary for a social media director, the panel says, is $35,000 to $55,000.

And the worst mistake in social media: Stan: Being inauthentic. Clay: Jumping in without a plan. Shannon: Don’t get too focused on your competition. It’s about what you bring to the table. Eric: It’s believing that social media is free. It’s not free. The time and energy it takes to do it well, you can’t delegate it to the intern. You get what you pay for in life. Buck Head: Ask Chrysler, with their recent faux pas. Also, starting a social media campaign and not following through — never posting.

8:45 a.m. — An audience member asks how to overcome management resistance to social media campaigns. Shannon Paul, social media director for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan, said: “Be clear about what you want to do and how you are going to do it. Be clear about who you want to reach, how you want to reach them, and how they will measure it.”

8:40 a.m. — Buck Head, social media director at 98.7 Amp Radio, gave his five favorite Facebook tips. First, use your profile ad space that Facebook allows you to have. Second, give them a reward for liking you — fan of the week, coupons, etc. Third, use photos, video and links in your posts — not just because it makes for richer media, but because Facebook’s algorithms prefer this lively content to static status updates. Fourth, allow your team to be a part of your process. Facebook guidelines should be a group effort, and include information on content and contest policies. And fifth, he said, stay engaged with the customer. Respond to their comments.

8:30 a.m. — Stan Smith of Fluency Media describes the keys to social media success — complete organizational buy-in, realistic planning that realizes that social media success takes time, trial and error, and customer-focused content. Fluency Media created the state’s Pure Michigan tourism campaign, now the No. 1-rated state tourism social media program, with nearly 218,000 Facebook friends — and counting.

MSU professor Clay Vorhees says the No. 1 key to social media success is authenticity.

Shannon Paul, social media director for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan, describes how she started the Detroit Red Wings’ social media program.

8:20 a.m. — WWJ Newsradio 950 morning anchor Roberta Jasina kicks off the event by describing how she used social networking Web sites to deal with grief over the death of her mother — and wound up making a close friendship with a family from England. She shared several other stories of how social media have both helped her news coverage efforts and her friends, calling the technology “miraculous.”

7:51 a.m. — Wow, this place is filling up. I hear the room is set up for around 500, and storms or no storms it looks like most of these seats are going to be filled.

7:30 a.m. — Arrive at Schoolcraft College’s beautiful VisTaTech Center 15 or 20 minutes later than I wanted to, thanks to the rain, for the WWJ Newsradio 950 Business Breakfast, “Social Media and Your Business: Gold Mine or Fool’s Gold?” Funny how all it takes is a couple of raindrops and Detroit drivers who usually drive like Wally Dallenbach start driving like Wally Cox.

Panelists included:

  • Eric Kushner – Marketing Strategy Director, Compuware
  • Shannon Paul – Social Media Manager, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
  • Stan SmithVice President of Marketing, Fluency Media
  • Clay M. Vorhees - Assistant Professor, Marketing, Michigan State University
  • Buck Head - Social Media Director 98.7 Amp Radio CBS Detroit / CEO Severely Social – Online Marketing

- Matt Roush

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