If there was an eye-opening plunge into the world of social media in Asia, it had to be this year’s Social Media World Forum. A packed agenda over two days gave access to some of the brightest minds in the Asian social media landscape through presentations and panels, accompanied by a full workshop agenda and a busy exhibition (we were there!).
Our field reports for Day 1 and Day 2 gave you an almost as-it-happened glimpse into the proceedings, but we thought a brief rundown of the highlights would help as well (check out the full reports for links and references).
Note: If text bores you to death, check out some sights and sounds from the event. Scroll to the end of the post.
Day 1 highlights: In the keynote address, Paul Borrud outlined the reach of Facebook today and why it’s one of the most sought-after marketing platforms. He gave a peek into its new ad model and how marketers can harness Facebook better through Questions and Social Plug-ins. Thomas Crampton painted broad brush strokes of the state of social media across Asia (our own survey gives specific insight into Singapore). Businesses in Asia would do well not to ignore Indonesia as Enda Nasution opened our eyes to the burgeoning social media use in that country and how mobile is driving engagement even in villages without electricity. Mahesh Murthy from Pinstorm drove home the point about scalability and linguistic customization when addressing social media tracking and metrics for large markets like India. A panel discussion that followed delved into integrating social media with traditional marketing strategies, a topic that struck close to home for many of the delegates. As did a discussion on the best and worst practices in social media. Lito German from BMW gave some interesting insights from his experiences of fostering a community by “fishing where the fish are”, or harnessing existing watering holes rather than creating a shiny new site or channel, only for it to be ignored by the targeted user base. RockYou and the panel discussion following that got into the area of actually making money off social media, particularly in social gaming. Big bucks are to be made, if you know how, and the market is only starting to warm up in Asia. Amazon’s Simone Brunozzi rounded off the day’s proceedings espousing the benefit of the cloud (and by extension Amazon Web Services) for the bootstrapping social media businesses of today.
Day 2 highlights: The rain and road closures for the F1 weekend threatened turnout for Day 2, but the topics for the day ensured a full house once again. Despite the odd choice of speaker (considering how Friendster is seen as a spent force among social media circles), Ganesh Kumar Bangah from Friendster spoke simply and clearly about making money through social gaming, and how opportunities abound in spite of despite the elephant in the room, Zynga. The panel discussion that followed touched on touchy issue of selecting social media agencies. Imminently quotable Panelist Ed Mapa, Jr. from the Philippines outlined the 4I’s (Information, Insight, Interaction and Ideas) that can distinguish social media agencies. Famed Euro RSCG creative director, Fernanda Romano held the few-hundred audience in thrall with a hyper-kinetic presentation that dived and soared through her experiences with Dulux’s Let’s Colour the World social media-based ad campaign. Laurel Papworth delved meticulously into monetizing social media beyond just gaming to other social networks, new revenue streams that have opened up and about “COI” – the cost of inaction of community engagement. Social CRM – a rather new term in this part of the world – got its due through a panel discussion on increasing customer intimacy through social CRM, while Greg Joy’s talk gave keen insight into the art and craft of developing “super users” – customers and evangelists who root for you on the Web.
The headline event of the summit was surely Brian Solis’ talk on marketing to an audience with an audience. His foresight, vision and intimate awareness of the social media space shone through despite the talk being over an audio conference line. The key message really was how to communicate and tailor your message to an audience with whom your message doesn’t just come to a dead end, but gets broadcasted to their audience. This demands a fundamental re-look into traditional marketing means and methods. Drawing extensively from his recently-released book, Engage!, the talk left the audience energised and geared up to face the brave the new world of social marketing. Some quick presentations followed on social media and the PR industry, risk response using social media, and exploiting social media for breaking news. A couple of panel discussions later, which covered emerging areas like geo-tagging, social TV, and mobile social media, the event drew to a close.
Parting shot: If anything, the event underscored the rise of social media to prominence across various marketing arenas. Businesses ignore it at their own peril. What would make the event even more worth its salt the next time? Discussions on B2B marketing. Till the next edition then.
Watch out for exclusive interviews in the coming weeks of a couple of enterprising B2B marketers, captured on the sidelines of the event.
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