It was 11:30AM in Nashville. The Keynote speaker had just departed the stage, and the room was buzzing with energy—our Twitter feed buzzing along with it. We love to be part of the conversation at events via social media (in addition to the face-to-face networking we employ of course) as it gives us the opportunity to share takeaways with those people that couldn’t attend (it’s great information for industry professionals and helps promote the event for subsequent years, as well). On this particular morning, we had been tweeting up a storm for a few hours already, when across the continent in San Diego, the Keynote speaker at the IBM Amplify Summit was about to begin.
We had been working with IBM for months, preparing for this day—this announcement—a key partnership for our company that supports our strategy of powering the ‘Marketing Cloud’ with our Marketing Performance Management software. We’ve been preparing for the presentation, right up until the last minute and honestly had no idea what to expect as a response from the attendees and our industry as a whole. For this news, we had decided to forgo the typical press release and start with a ‘Social First’ news strategy. We are passionate about social media, and have been integrating it as part of our marketing strategy and investing in it over the last year. We’ve worked hard to build a social following of the people that matter in our industry. Our customers. Our partners. Our employees. Their friends and families. Even our competitors. We’ve gone from 500 followers to almost 6000 in just a year’s time. Today, we got to put that social following to work for us.
And work, it did.
We received a text message from my CEO with a picture of the massive screen at IBM Amplify. Behind the speaker was a screenshot of our product. Seconds later, Twitter started lighting up. Attendees were spreading the news like wildfire—tagging us in all their tweets. Our Social Media team from Mad Media, with us in Nashville, was receiving and monitoring all these tweets, and had started engaging. We focused first on listening, thanking, and sharing rather than broadcasting our own message. Endorsements and congratulations from the industry and people attending the event and online mean so much more than having us self-congratulate, in my opinion.
The buzz was outstanding! I perused our Twitter feed and watched as we simultaneously engaged thousands of marketers and two events—cross country. We were connecting with the marketing industry, our employees back at the office, our customers and prospects—all of whom were excited to see our company innovate in terms of products and partnerships. We also connected with some our existing partners who had seen the announcement and were very supportive of our consistent message around our ‘Powering the Marketing Cloud’ mission.
In my career, this day will stand out as one where social seized the day. We created drama with an announcement. We engaged in a two-way conversation in REAL TIME versus a one way press release that takes days to craft and pitch. We let the industry and our partners speak for us. And we did it remotely. This experience stands out as how we used social as the catalyst for a critical and exciting conversation. This is the way communication needs to be done today. This is how marketing needs to be done today. Personally, I’m thrilled we pulled it off. It was tense. It was exciting. It was risky. But it was worth it.