Centers of influence are people in the community that generate sales for your business through referrals. Sometimes they’re customers. Sometimes they’re not. Some are members of your target market who influence their peers. Others operate complementary businesses and share their customers. They are well connected. They have ability to generate large volumes of business for your company by referral — and they’re online.
I participated in a presentation for the Monitoring Social Media conference organized by the Influence People along with Brandwatch, an enterprise social media monitoring tool which we’re working on an integration with our desktop product at Seesmic.
I’ve done a number of presentations and panels in the past year, but felt like I needed to share this in a post. In all honesty, I wasn’t prepared, since my last participation with the same organizers was on a panel, which is easier to come in and be not as prepared. However, during a meeting the day before, I came to realize that this was going to be a co-presenter session, and realized I had to have a presentation ready.
The presentation took me a few hours, and I kept it as plain and simple as possible and focused on being a complement to the main presenter. Through this, I made sure I had laid out a simple outline for my presentation, chose appropriate graphics to convey my points, kept the slides to a minimum.
Here’s some things that I should have done or kept in mind to do:
- Help your audience spread your information. In my introductory page, I should have added my twitter handle and the hashtag for the conference. It’s not that I’m much of an ego-boosting guy, but there are often times where a slide might strike a chord with someone in the audience and would like to share it out to their followers. Also, I probably would have put the hashtag as a footer for every slide. I’ll try that the next time.
- Choose your graphics wisely. Simple visuals make all the difference in the world. For graphics, I chose Stock.XCHNG or http://www.sxc.hu which is normally my default choice for stock photos. If you’re interested in looking at other photo sites, you can review the Daily Blogger’s 10 Image Search Engine alternatives to Google Images or HongKiat’s 41 Image and Icon Search Engines Designers Should Know
- Offer up information for them to look at. Sometimes you lose an audience when you have so much crap on the screen, and they drift off. However, there were some key charts that I showed and referenced. I noticed that those charts got a lot of response, so I should have just offered some key words they can google so they can find the resource themselves – just a different way to keep them engaged. Next time, on the screen, I’ll put up a “Google Keywords: engagement chart” to find the resource I was referring to in the chart, since in some cases, it might be a pain to type out the whole URL.
- Next Experiment – Tweet out presentation slides. I’m sure that this has been done before, but I think I’ll try an experiment where I tweet out each of the slides or reference link when I go through my presentation. I’m sure I’d lose some followers, but it might be worth a try…
All in all, it was a fun experience, and I realized that I should focus on doing more presentations, only to take the advantage of sharing my thoughts and insights about social media. Here’s my part of the presentation on Slideshare.
I’ve always been a basic user of the search features, but seeing the people directory available in a list format – I’m wondering how many of the 450 million registered users have made their information available here.
FB, of course, makes it clear you can opt out by changing your privacy settings. If anything, I’m impressed how many “Yamasaki’s” are listed in FB.
My son and I just finished playing New Super Mario Bros. We’ve just reached World 7- we actually reached World 8 but had a painful save snafu (long story) and had to essentially start over. Anyway, playing Super Mario Bros reminded me of a conversation with someone I had met on my return trip from SXSW about the location wars between Gowalla and Foursquare. My planemate happened to be a highly regarded head of design at a well-known startup, and made a very astute observation about how the gameplay in Gowalla’s stamp, pin and items pickup experience had a better longevity rate than Foursquare’s badges of honor. He made the comparison of Gowalla with Oregon Trail against Foursquare’s Super Mario, where you’d reached the end of the eventual round by beating one of the “bosses” to get to the next level, what happens when you achieve all your badges? You wait until the next set of badges come to play. Or you stop playing.
Reviewing my own use of Gowalla and Foursquare, I realized then that I really stopped being interested in the gameplay of both apps. Since foursquare came out first, the game play of earning badges got me hooked as an early adopter, and then I eventually lost my addiction of mayorships (although it’s nice to observe that you still happen to be the mayor of le web in Paris – which of course, won’t last for very long once a certain boss sees this post…).
I did an unfair experiment with Gowalla when I decided to let Gowalla be my exclusive friend app, meaning I only friend people I knew, whereas foursquare I friended almost anyone that invited or friended me. I thought I would try to be a little more intimate with Gowalla, but after reviewing the gameplay and the user flow, I realize that Gowalla would have been more effective as a more openly social gameplay (particularly with the ability to drop and pick up items) geo-location app, and foursquare as a more intimate geo-location app. One of the more social connections I like about Gowalla is there integration with FaceBook, where updates seem more FB fitting.
With the social aspect of both applications, it seems that with foursquare, I find I’m more attracted to see where my friends are at and review the tips and todo’s more than Gowalla, whereas I feel Gowalla’s interface allows me to build friends online. Ironically, foursquare should have been my Facebook (with more intimate close friends and acquaintances) while Gowalla should have been my Twitter (openly social). I don’t know how I will play this out, but I’ll still continue to play with both, and perhaps try to give it some equal time since they each have their own distinctive gameplays. Maybe I should try to look for an Oregon Trail game to play, and see how I feel about that…
In my preparations for SXSW, there’s a few things that I plan to experiment with, even though it’s my first time at the conference.
I do quite a few movie and TV references in my daily conversations- so while I’m at Austin, I’m going to do my best to quote and refer to as many movies as possible in nearly all my conversations. It’ll be a personal pet project that I’d like to see how far I can take.
For my participation in the Twitter Indispensable Tools Seminar, there’s one scene that pops up into my head.
Sneakers is one of my all-time favorite tech related movies. The movie is about a crackpot team of hackers that gets themselves involved in a cat and mouse chase over an ultimate code breaking black box. Ben Kingsley is the hacker villain countering Robert Redford’s anti-hero role, and shares an insight that still holds true today.
In the world of Twitter, Facebook and obviously Google – it’s clear that the power behind who takes control or a share of the control is more potent than any of us would like to believe. And I’m sure we’re all curious as to how this will play out…
At the last minute, I recently found out I’ll be going to South By Southwest. I’ll be participating in a panel on the Twitter Indispensable Tools Seminar – moderated by Guy Kawasaki of Alltop. On the panel is Nick Halstead, of TweetMeme, Laura Fitton (or Pistachio) of oneforty, and Iain Dodsworth of TweetDeck. This will be pretty interesting, especially since I’m a last minute replacement for Loic.
If you’re attending SXSW, feel free to look me up or connect. I’ll also be attending the Facebook Developers Garage talking about Seesmic. Since this is my first SXSW, I really don’t have any expectations outside of not screwing up and meeting with brands & potential partners. I’m already overwhelmed with the number of parties there are. I’ve been looking at the following:
- 25 SxSW 2010 Panels You Can’t Afford To Miss by Andrew Mager (can’t believe I haven’t met the guy…)
- The Unofficial SXSW Guide
- Mashable’s SXSW 2010: The Complete Social Media Guide
Personally, I’d be happy with meeting with a quality few, and chilling at the hotel lounge over some shots…
I recently read a FastCompany article on Chris Hughes, who coordinated Barack Obama’s online campaign – making a huge impact on both marketing and politics. The author deftly placed a quote from Hughes that stood out for attention:
“I don’t really know what ‘community’ means. And I never use that word.”
I’ve spent several years working in various groups and teams of smart, energetic and wonderful people – in business, technology, education, non-profit and faith-based. The fact of the matter is, that I also don’t know what community means.
However, I’ve seen some people draw strength from working in groups, others find their identities through their teams. And there there are others, in order to avoid their own insecurities, just don’t want to feel… alone, but be able to eventually stand in confidence.
I’ve been privileged to witness extraordinary things accomplished through teams and groups – emphasizing the proverb “None of us are as smart as all of us.”
I’m currently in the process of working, talking, interviewing with some of these extraordinary people, and will be talking more about community in various settings. The best thing about it is that I won’t be doing it alone. I’ll be looking for my community to help me.