March 8, 2011 – Two weeks after the widely successful SearchFest, SEMpdx gathered again to dig deeper into the social media conversation.

Bryan Stratton, from StepChange Group, shared his high level strategy “do’s and don’ts” of social media. Perhaps the best analogy, he said, was to treat it like a cocktail party. Among his advice was the need to be proactive, noting that paid media is easy but earned media is much more valuable. Make organic connections with those who are already talking about you. By listening to and engaging with your community, you will create a sense of shared ownership. Bryan also stressed the importance of being genuine. Own your mistakes – you’re going to make them – and be honest in what you’ll do about them.

The evening closed with RTP Interactive’s Ryan Cantrell discussing powerful ways to integrate social media into your company’s website. Until about a year ago, integrating social media meant simply adding the appropriate icons to your home page. But that sends users away from your website and you lose control. Now we have a growing list of plug and play widgets that can be placed directly on the home page. APIs are evolving as well, increasing our ability to influence the look and feel of the integration. Ryan also showed examples of how two-way integration, such as Facebook cross-posting, provides information to potential customers from people they know and trust.

As we look ahead, Ryan expects we’ll see even deeper integration. Content repository will be the key to your web presence. And lastly, think mobile when building your sites.

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