OMMA Social Highlights

ipopeRecently, I attended OMMA Social in San Francisco. A number of good speakers reflected on the power and influence of social media. New chatter about new trends, however, was conspicuously at a minimum. The consensus was that social media has transformed the way we do business: Brands no longer call the shots and consumers’ voices are being heard.

There was agreement amongst all that listening to social media is key, and ignoring the conversation is not an option. But what I took away is that social media remains a challenging space for marketers. Here are the top six tips, direct from OMMA, for marketers:

Social Media’s Impact
Angela Courtin, SVP Marketing, Entertainment and Content at MySpace, offered proof that social media continues to make an impact in our digital world when the Pope has an iPhone application, President Barack Obama fights to hold on to his Blackberry, and Paris Hilton blogs daily (and we actually read it).

A Brand’s Positive Point of View
Chris Curtin, HP’s VP of digital strategy, spoke about the company’s views on social media. While many marketers are slow to the gate (only 15% of major brands participate in social media), HP clearly understands that social media provides brands with a more effective way to reach an audience and get consumers charged about their products. HP is making a commitment to social media on and beyond (IPG digital media agency R/GA is working to redesign They are taking a more customer-centric approach on their site, creating lifestyle sections and a more personalized experience by presenting fewer but more relevant products.

Your Personal CPM
There has been a lot of discussion but slower action around tapping into users’ social graphs and assigning a value of an individual to a marketer. Everyone is now a publisher and each person has a unique value based on their reach and influence.  Panelists, including moderator Charlene Li, agreed that it only makes sense for advertisers to look at this value in terms of CPM.

Think Like A Publisher
Six Apart vowed that in order for marketers to succeed today, they need to think like a publisher. Their tips for engagement, relevance and transparency include: giving users something to talk about, aligning with/creating awareness for a cause, fostering relationships through social currency, and aligning with influencers.

Navigating the Financial Crisis
This panel looked at how the financial crisis will affect the social web and where or where not to cut corners. I’m of the belief that an economic crisis is the right time for innovation. The consensus was that if you need to cut anything – don’t cut back on listening. I’ve always maintained that social media works best when used to listen to customers. Also, brands should think about partnerships in the space that can have a positive effect on the bottom line.

The Life of the App
Facebook may still be thought of us app central, but this panel pointed out that there are other places for brands to launch applications to connect with users. Of course, mobile (iPhone) and other social networking sites such as MySpace and LinkedIn, were mentioned. Not much new here!