At PSFK Conference SF, George Parker (AdScam/MadScam), Rohit Bhargava (Ogilvy 360 Digital Influence), Lynn Casey (Team Noesis), Adrian Ho (Zeus Jones), and Mark Lewis (DDB SF, Planning from the Outside) shared their insight on how genuine consumer dialogue can improve sales.

Social networking is the flavor of the month. Clients want to get involved. You have to ask do you want to create or do you want to participate? What value are you handing to a consumer? Big, broad, sweeping statements don’t work here. You have to be direct. (i.e.: Special K; Clients who want to get involved but don’t understand it usually are told they need to do it but are not sure why, or they merely want to do something someone else is doing. They usually have an unrealistic checklist. Social media is continuous. Do lots of little things and invest in what works. Be ready to keep it going and keep investing. Socila media = conversational media. Social media is made up of people who talk to other people who have common interests Who should be responsible for social media programs? Media? PR? The person who is most passionate about it, it doesn’t matter who – the accidental spokesperson. Blogger relations: you can’t just buy it, you have to build it. Find the employees who already swim in those seas. It’s risky to give the accidental spokesperson that power. Zappos tells all employees what they stand for and tells everyone that they are a spokesperson. Most large companies don’t act that way. When you’re always concerned about saying the right thing you’re lost. What could go wrong? If you’re bad, people are already talking about the fact that you’re bad. This is a better way to talk to people and to learn from people. Tap into people who are already interfacing with your customers. Most agency blogs are self serving. The W+K London Blog is a good example of an agency blog done well. Content – It’s far better to be interesting than anything else. What’s the ROI of blogging? What’s the I? The I is time, not money. What’s the ongoing return of a blog and is it the right thing to do? You are giving something away in order to get some of their time. There’s no telling when the return will come, but at the very least you are engaging your customers.

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