I remember attending LocWorld 2 years ago. I knew no one. I walked in, looked around, attended some sessions, and basically didn’t know what to say or who to say it to. Fast forward now 2 years and a few LocWorld Conferences later. It feels really good to see so many people who I know and have so many people say “Hello” to me, too.

And how do I know people? Well, a lot of it is based on social networking. Sure, there are a number of folks who I met at previous conferences. I keep in touch with them via social networking. And there are a number of people who I met through social networking. I got to meet them face-to-face today.

In fact, I was sitting in a session and a woman sat down. I looked at her and said, “Hey! You just started following me on Twitter!” Sure enough, I was right. I had just looked at her photo and there she was right in front of me. Clearly, social networking plays a huge role in starting and maintaining local, regional, national, and international relationships. Huge. So huge that I wonder why we don’t have our Twitter names on our name badges.  (Note to conference organizers: How about you put our Twitter names on our badges next year?)

In the spirit of social networking, I attended a session today on Global Social Networking. It was extremely interesting. The moderator was Kathleen Bostick of L10nbridge. And the speakers were Matt Stanford of Twitter, Lucy Allen of Lewis PR, and Adam Singer of Lewis PR. The session opened with the now-famous (and updated for 2011) video of social networking statistics. If you haven’t watched it, click on this link:

Social Media Revolution 2011

Here are some of my takeaways (and various tweets, if you were following #lwsv).

First, a few interesting social media facts

  • If Wikipedia was a book, it would have 2.5 million pages
  • If Facebook were a country, it would be the third largest in the world
  • 93% of marketers use social media
  • 60% of tweets are not in English (who knew?)
  • The Netherlands has the highest Twitter use, then Japan, then Brazil
  • In June 2011, YouTube had 48 hours of uploads per minute
  • Proctor & Gamble has 54+ Facebook sites, multiple Twitter account per brand, and the famous Old Spice man campaign
  • YouTube has hit 3 billion views per day
  • Many people attending this session have Google + accounts and most have no idea what to do with them (me included)
  • I learned a new word today: Mocial. Can you guess what it stands for? (hint: think mobile social)
  • Social Media “mavens” have better metrics all around (profit, sales, etc.)
  • Bottom line from Kathleen: Social Media is really about developing relationships with customers that support the growth of your company (Amen!)

Here are some of the interesting points that the speakers made

Even though we think social media is global, most tweets are local. The topics people most tweet about are not international, but local topics, to an audience of local people. However, in times of catastrophe, such as the earthquake in Japan, the international value of Twitter as a cross-cultural communication mechanism is huge.

Once you get started using social media, be aware of a few important things:

  • People who contact you via Twitter expect a very quick turn-around time
  • You will get positive and negative responses on Twitter
  • Don’t let your social media sites become a ghost town – in other words, you must keep up with the social media pathways that you create. Otherwise, you risk damaging your brand.

Of course, this also means that you need to seriously consider your global social media strategy. Strategy is key for companies of all sizes. You should have a plan for the social media outlets you use – don’t use all of them, strategically pick which one(s) will work for you – and you need to have a plan for the content you will continue to provide. You need to pay careful attention to cultural differences if you are going to use social media in a global way. Not all cultures are as accepting of all types of content. And don’t forget, you need a plan to monitor your social media sites.

Social media has become so important, you cannot just dabble in it. You really have to make a commitment. And from that commitment, you should be able to see measurable results.

Lots of people were tweeting during the session using the hashtag #lwsv and here is a link to another blog from Cetra that has additional and specific notes from the session.


Val Swisher
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