TWTRCON San Francisco: Biz Strategies in Real-Time

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TwtrconI’ve been meaning to attend TWTRCON since its first one now over a year ago, so I was thrilled to discover I’d be in San Francisco when their second one hit the west coast last week.

TWTRCON is entirely focused on the business use of the real-time web with social media tools like Twitter a core part of the conversation.

They highlight case studies from leading brands, workshops led by social media practitioners and mini tutorials about real-time tools. They also collect and publish social media business case studies, statistics and videos on their site.

What I loved most about their event is how well it combined great networking and high quality speakers and sessions with “fun.” They had beach balls on the tables and introduced a game at the start of the day as a way to meet others and tweet out a little love about the person you just met.

Laura-Fitton (1) Some of my favorite people were on stage, in the audience and at the sponsor tables.

As a non-morning person, I was shocked that I managed to make it there for Laura Fitton’s (aka @pistachio) early morning keynote which kicked off the day.

Her message focused around relevance – in other words, don’t just go for numbers, go for engagement. And after you kick that into gear and are part of the conversation, remember to use the right analytics tools: links, click throughs, conversations AND context. All are important.

Kara Swisher interviewed Adam Bain on revenue models, digging for more data on how Twitter will make money. It’s clearer that revenue is coming – what’s the ole saying? Build an audience first and the money will follow and it’s not as if they can’t tout numbers – real numbers.  Twitters Adam Bain (30)

Adam says they plan to focus on the product plan in the next year and product growth will be key over revenue, at least in the next twelve months.

On future revenue models, he reminds the audience that with traditional display advertising, .5% engagement is considered a win and with Twitter, they’re seeing single and double digit percentages in engagement.

Tons of major brands are already using Twitter and setting up campaigns to increase engagement and get customers on board – it’s an organic movement that is only growing, not shrinking. Small businesses are seeing a tremendous benefit as well.

Then, Google’s Avinash Kaushik talked analytics. Full of energy and passion, he zipped from left to right across the stage emphasizing all of his key points – with humor…a lot of humor.

He talked about the whole notion of HITS and tracking hits alone, which he says stands for: (HITS = How Idiots Track Success). He referred to it as a glorious datapuke.

He reminded the audience not to get caught up in straight hits or simple analytics around positive, negative and neutral. Sentiment analysis is key – focusing on people’s emotions and how they’re feeling and thinking when they retweet or make a comment. It’s important to understand the behavior behind tweets purchases and data links, he says.

Stefi - adventuregirl (1) Stefanie Michaels (aka @adventuregirl) talked about the value of Twitter to create change and make a positive impact on the world.

“In social media, your reward is YOUR reward,” she says. In other words, focus on what you care about and talk about that on Twitter and elsewhere on the web.

It can be as simple as helping ten kids out and having an impact on two of their lives in a way that can not only be life changing for them but for you in the journey you take along the way.

They had an interesting small business panel which included Nic Adler from The Roxy Theatre, Andrew Israel from AspenSpin, Akash Kapoor from Curry Up Now, and musician Zoe Keating.

Below, HootSuite’s Ryan Holmes, Maksim Ovsyannikov from Zendesk, Sprinklr’s Ragy Thomas, and Gigya’s David Yovanno talked about real-time strategies and tools now and what’s next.

Real-time toolbox panel (1)
Ford’s Scott Monty showed up in a bow-tie and raised the bar for the local geeks who dressed in t-shirts, jeans and sneakers. He shared a few case studies and talked about some of the lessons he has learned through implementing social media campaigns over the last few years.

At the end of the day, people still care about the same things they have always cared about, he says. “People don’t change, they want you to think and feel and be just like them.” Globally, trust is down year after year and less than 40% of people trust ads. “Who people trust are third party experts and people like themselves,” he says.

Transparency and authenticity are key when you’re dealing with human emotions and rather than use robotic language that won’t have an impact on people’s emotions, “we’re training people to talk like humans again.”  He also emphasized the importance of relevance.

Below are a few random shots…..I’d love to see them turn this into a two day event in the future. Kudos to Tonia Ries and her team for an incredibly well-executed event.

Tonia-Reis Zsa Zsa Rensch and James Bowyer (1)

Above: Tonia Ries, Fusicology’s Zsa-Zsa Rensch and James Bowyer

Zoe (2)
Musician Zoe Keating


Kara Swisher

Alastair marie domingo harry and renee (3)

Thomson Reuters’ Alastair Goldfisher, Marie Domingo, Harry McCracken, Renee Blodgett

Marylene delbourg-delphis and rachel polish

Above – Marylene Delbourg-Delphis and Rachel Polish (taken by Harry McCracken)

Hootsuite at twtrcon
HootSuite had a mascot :-) The Owl was dancing around all day! (and then some)

Book signing (3)
Laura and friends sign books – Twitter for Dummies. Twitter for who?? :-)

And, unlike a lot of conferences, the sponsors actually made sense and were very relevant for the ‘conversation.’ You didn’t feel pitched and the companies that showed up all had a solution for putting together real-time strategies and solutions in small businesses and corporations.

The “relevant” companies included folks like CoTweet, HootSuite, Objective Marketer, ThreadMarketing, tap 11, Foursquare, Sprinklr, ZenDesk, TweetReach, Fliptop and others.

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