Reflections from The Summit

I am just traveling back from Boston, reflecting upon the EdSocial Media Summit held at Walnut Hill School today.  If you are unfamiliar with the event, it is rapidly becoming the annual gathering of some of the brightest minds and social media evangelists.  I spoke at the inaugural conference last year in San Francisco, and returned this year for a second talk on viral videos.  About 160 gathered today to listen to the strongest thinkers in the social media business.

Keep in mind that we are a strategy firm - not a social media outlet.  I am interested in social media as a marketing communication and engagement strategy.  The tools are less important to me, but the consumer or client is most important to us.  My takeaways?  I have two that bear mentioning.

1) Social media is no longer an emerging media tool, but it is clearly mainstream.  While it is still emerging, growing, expanding, and taking all sorts of forms and directions, it has clearly been adopted by the most traditional industry (education) as a primary means of communication with different stakeholders. The thoughtful attention that schools and colleges are placing into video production, engagement tools, and the ROI necessary to warrant the investment of human resources is rapidly growing.  And, judging from the research shared today, more prospective college students are seeing social media as a primary information source to both explore and make final decisions about their future college.

2) The same old marketing adages still apply in the social media world.  No new rules here, regardless of the tools.  Know your audiences, their needs, their context, and their expectations.  Understand that they want to see themselves in the picture in social media.  And, always be client-centered in all that you produce in social media.  The institutionally driven story has never been appealing, but it is even less appealing in social media.

Watch our Twitter feed and this blog for the photos and videos that emerge from today.  All of the presentations were recorded and will be featured on the EdSocial Media site.