Mel Carson will be speaking at the “Digital Evangelism Inside & Out” session at SearchFest 2013 which will be taking place on February 22, 2013 at the Governor Hotel in Portland, Oregon. For more information or to purchase tickets, please click the following link.

1) Please give us your background and let us know what you do for a living.
I’ve spent last 12 years connecting consumers and businesses through search engine marketing, digital advertising and social media. During 7 of those years I travelled the world as Microsoft’s Digital Marketing Evangelist talking about the industry, dissecting the issues and providing a platform for thought leaders to discuss trends and offer their advice on what’s coming next. I left Microsoft in 2012 to start Delightful Communications, a social media integration, digital PR and personal branding consultancy based in Seattle. I love doing digital for a living.

2) How did you evangelize AdCenter to the hordes of people who saw AdWords as the only valid PPC platform?
Back in 2006 when adCenter (now Bing Ads) launched, Microsoft had a tiny market share, but many in the industry relished a new player who would try and push the envelope and provide some kind of complimentary platform. We started with a blog on Windows Live Spaces (remember that?!) and a forum, and made it our mission to “help advertisers help themselves”. Customer service, engagement and timely responses were hugely important to that mission. We really saw the opportunity to differentiate through really listening to customers and building trust. I then got invited to speak at more conferences and worked on building my personal brand on Customers and potential customers valued having a “face” they could identify with and approach instead of just a logo. It was a long few years of chipping away before Bing caught up and the Yahoo! Search Alliance was struck, but the rest, as they say, is history.

3) How is social media a platform for brand evangelism?
Social media provides a mechanism for both a one-to-one and one-to-many dialogue. My mantra has always been to make helpful and relevant content and messaging discoverable and sharable through digital means. Don’t make the mistake of setting up your channels, crossing your fingers and hoping for it all to go viral. Integrating your social channels into your other marketing channels will help amplify the essence behind your products and services beyond others who don’t, simply because you’re giving them a chance to be found more easily and shared for longer. Social media is a fantastic tool for building relationships with potential brand advocates and ambassadors. With the right chemistry, these advocates can help you propel your brand into the consciousness of customers and potential customers you’d never even thought of.

BTW, for those who don’t know…Mel was the dashing young gentleman in this Joe Cocker video:

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