Last week I attend the 5th occurrence of this conference. It was one of the best conferences I have attended in a long time! 1,110 participants from 25 countries. Excellent content and relationship building. To use professional jargon, I was as happy as a pig in mud! It is difficult to identify all of the nuggets I gleaned from the conference, but here are a few.
1. J. Walker Smith of The Futures Company (formally Yankelovich) distilled 3 points from consumer research in the US: Caution--consumers are cautious in how they approach decisions about financial markets and other matters. This leads to Curation--people want to hear from citizens, not "authorities." So they find networks that can collect and curate information they want. All of this is in the service of Contentment--People want their decisions to led to actions and purchases that bring contentment. Health communicators and marketers need to consider their work in the context of these themes.
2. Photovoice is a tool for formative research in which people take pictures of their everyday lives, review the pictures through a group methodology in which they identify themes and areas of concern, then use these findings to inform intervention strategies.
3. Tools to track social media: Sproutsocial can track the purposefulness of engagement; Tweetercounter.com provides stats related to Tweeter posts; Topsy.com counts hashtag mentions; Klout.com--assesses your social media influence and engagement.
4. Ed Keller, of the Keller Fay Group, had these observations about social media: a) Social media is made up of two words. 90% of the value is on the social side. It is not technology that made us social; b) Social media is an enabler, not a driver, of stories. What is our story? Who can best tell it? Then ask, what is the best channel? c) If we want to be "social," then we have to act "sociably"--listen before we speak, offer something on-topic about what people are interested in. d) The ethics of social media is about honesty, transparency, relationships.
5. To generate engagement in social media [and I think this is true for all relationships-sm1guru]: a) give people something of interest to talk about--something that excites them [guess we have to listen and get to know them first-sm1guru]; b) give positive messages; give periodic updates on a topic; c) provide opportunities to interact and act--e.g., videos, games, questions.
6. Craig Lefebvre--long time social marketer and social change agent reminded us to listen; to get away from science and take a look at the popular culture most people experience; we need eureka moments of insight, not confirmation of our scientific thinking.
7. Many of our communication interventions has been based on the assumption that the paradigm for change is "Think, Act, Feel." More and more research shows it is "Feel, Act, Think." Emotion is the elephant in the behavior change room--focus there. [This reminds me of a saying from my social work days, "Insight doesn't lead to behavior change, but behavior change might lead to insight."--sm1guru].
9. Big Concern--I did not attend every session that talked about social marketing, but every session I attended on it focused primarily on the Promotion P, or the speaker did not seem to understand social marketing process and the 4 Ps well. And this from some people who should know better! That should not being happening at this conference!
10. Big Announcement--CDC is developing a new decision support tool to help us create and analyze messages--including those for social media platforms--based on 10 evidence-based variables that are significant predictors for stated intentions and behavior. The tool is like CDCynergy meets TurboTax. For more information, send your contact information to: email@example.com.