Austin2Boston: Insights from SXSW

Last night we attended Fleishman-Hillard’s Austin2Boston event. Think of it as a mini SXSW for those of us who couldn’t make it this year. There was great food, great conversation, and more importantly a few great takeaways from those who were on the ground in Austin.

Here are some points that stood out for us:

Be who you are: SXSW is not for every brand. As Jessica Parr from The Boston Beer Company put it, “Stay true to yourself and to your audience.” If you really know your consumers, you know what they want and where they are. It is quite possible that they won’t be at SXSW. If not, don’t go there. This applies to social media marketing in general. If your community isn’t using a social technology, don’t invest time and resources integrating it into your strategy.

Process is not a dirty word: As social media begins to mature, it isn’t all about experimentation any more. These technologies have real business implications. Social media experts and community managers have to collaborate with their legal and HR teams to put smart policies in place that protect organizational interests while meeting community expectations.

Add some layers: It is so easy to get distracted by the shiny new social media toy. But this year it isn’t about finding the hottest, newest technology. It is about finding the ones that work for your community and layering on new ideas and tactics. According to Margot Bloomstein, it is time for us to grow up and add focus to our social media strategy.

Put down your phone: Jim Storer from The Community Roundtable summed it up perfectly. With all this exciting technology at our finger tips, we often forget to turn off and engage in genuine face time. This is certainly the case at events like SXSW where you’re always worried you may be missing something, but we think this is true for organizations everywhere. Take time to really listen to your community without distraction. Hear what they have to say, and make sure you’re meeting their needs.

If you couldn’t make it to SXSW or Austin2Boston, what do you think about these developments? Are they consistent with what you’re seeing in the social media space?