Social Media World Forum

Yucca head to SMWF 2011

With social media being high on most of our clients’ agendas at Yucca, I jumped at the chance to tag along to the Social Media World Forum in London last week (referred to as “SMWF” to those in the know). I’d also be lying if I said that the rumoured appearance of Charlie Sheen didn’t influence me to go too…..

Early on Wednesday we arrived at London Olympia to meet four very lovely ladies – Sam and Becca from our client Silverstone, Charlotte from Hft – a new client of Yucca’s - and our very own social media keen-o Jemma Watkins. We soon got into the swing of things with a keynote panel debate which encouraged us to “sit back and tweet”, featuring key social media champions from giant brands Unilever, Cadbury’s, Sony Ericsson and Mercedes Benz. The audience threw some difficult questions out there and as always, the panel were expected to look into the future of social media. Engagement and reward were the session buzzwords, although we were surprised to hear that some of these brands don’t seem to be measuring their social media efforts yet.

A subsequent session on the development of online communities featuring some fierce debate from some vocal speakers left us feeling in need of some sustenance. After some R&R in the nearest pizza outlet, we went into one of the afternoon sessions hosted by Bian Salins, Head of Social Media & Innovation at BTCare. Our very own Richie Jones has always had lots to say about BTCare in the office, and always cites their use of Twitter as a customer services channel as “ really cool”.

From my personal experience with BTCare, and my professional experience at Yucca, I had my own burning questions – where does social media end and customer service begin, and more importantly how can the two forces integrate to become mutually beneficial? Bian gave a great talk – she was really passionate and engaging, but like many of the speakers at the conference, admitted she didn’t know all the answers – are the days of the social media guru over?

Bian told us how we have all become “Nowists”, ravenous, hungry beasts seeking instant gratification from social media. A bit extreme maybe, but I could definitely see how in today’s busy world all people want is a quick and effective solution to their problem. It’s clear that if organizations are to provide top notch customer services there is a very real need to integrate social media into their offering.

To round off our day in a slightly spooky way, Bian’s presentation included examples of positive customer response, citing a tweet from a certain @richiejones. We told you he had lots to say about BTCare.

Charlie Sheen ended up being a no-show (if you don’t count his photo being used in presentations) but we enjoyed a great day with some of our clients nonetheless.