Posted March 8, 2011 7:23 pm by with 0 comments

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PubCon Austin kicked off today with a keynote by best selling author and social media specialist Jeffrey Eisenberg. Eisenberg’s keynote entitled Social Media and Conversion: The Yellow Brick Road, covered the goals and approaches one should take with social media marketing.

Eisenberg’s main theme was using social media marketing efforts to start a meaningful conversation with your audience. His thoughts were focused on the fact that a meaningful interaction with your audience will result in conversions and a positive relationship with the customer.

Eisenberg noted that 70% of people check social media websites several times per week, which he felt indicated that this whole social media thing is a “big deal” and worth your attention. While that’s not overly surprising to hear, a good stat is a good stat.

One interesting thought in the keynote was the idea that “transparency is not your choice only authenticity is”. With social media giving customers the ability to share experiences about your product or service, you no longer have the luxury of promising things in your advertising that your product or service cannot exactly deliver (not that you ever did that anyways). The whole “we’ll figure it out later” approach will be undermined very quickly through social media interactions.

I’m a big fan of great one-liners and my favorite from Eisenberg’s keynote was “advertising only accelerates the inevitable”. In other words, if you provide a good service advertising will help you grow faster, and if you provide a bad service advertising will help you fail more quickly. Anyone who has run a PPC test can attest to the power of advertising to help you decide if an offering will work or not.

Eisenberg also touched on the factors that drive word-of-mouth by explaining “Word-of-mouth is triggered when your customer experiences something far beyond what was expected, for better or for worse. Slightly exceeding their expectations just won’t do it”. He mentioned that there are several main ways to exceed a customer’s expectations including:

Architectural – How your product is presented (design)
Kinetic – How your product performs / how it works
Generous – How much the customer gets / value
Identity – How well the customer identifies with your brand

Additionally, Eisenberg encouraged the audience to think about relevancy with social media content. He used the example of Delta Airline’s Facebook page using a “Book Trip” button. He felt this was button was not consistent with the contextual mindset of the visitor. Is your social media content too focused on conversions and not enough on generating a meaningful interaction with your customers?

Eisenberg also showed several slides which showed the reasons why people “unlike” Facebook pages, stop following twitter accounts and unsubscribe from email lists. Can you guess the common theme? Yep, that’s right too much posting / repetitive posting. He tied this back into his primary theme of creating a meaningful conversation with your customers. When you post you need to try to think about how your audience will see personal value in what you say. The audience thinks “It always has to be about me”. Is your content contributing to that mindset?

Finally, Eisenberg discussed something that made me cringe a little bit (at first). He said he doesn’t like the use of the word funnel as an analogy for conversion optimization. His point was that a funnel indicates a force (gravity) dragging visitors toward an inevitable goal, but visitors don’t make purchase decisions based on an inevitable goal but rather through non-linear paths. He recommended the use of persuasive momentum to direct visitors through your conversion process.

The keynote was a great start to Pubcon Austin 2011. Stay tuned for my daily digest covering sessions for day 1!