A capacity crowd of some 300-plus communications professionals packed the Westin San Francisco on Aug. 9 to hear tactical advice for maximizing their Facebook efforts at PR News’ Facebook Conference. Coming on the heels of the sold-out May 24 Facebook Conference in New York City, the daylong West Coast event covered topics ranging from how to turn “likes” into an engaged community to identifying and monitoring influencers and managing the legal risks in social media. Tweets associated with the conference poured in on Twitter throughout the day around the #prnfb hashtag, a testament to how engaged the attendees were.
According to a pre-conference poll, 60% of respondents said they were most interested in learning how to better engage their Facebook communities, a topic heavily covered by speakers throughout the day. While some in attendance were looking for hard-and-fast rules for using Facebook, speakers reiterated that Facebook is not a one-size-fits-all proposition, and that clearly outlining goals is key. “Know what you’re trying to do, whether it’s recruiting, driving people to your Web site, customer support,” said Tim Marklein, technology & analytics practice leader. “Figure out from an organizational point of view what you’re trying to achieve."
“Small businesses are turning to Facebook as the #1 marketing channel to save them in hard times," said Edelman SVP Monte Lutz. Lewis PR social media practice director Adam Singer said that while every brand needs a presence on Facebook on some level, it is only one tool in the digital arsenal. “If you don’t have a larger holistic digital strategy, it won’t matter what you do on Facebook,” said Singer. “Every company is now a media company, and that involves publishing content across social media where others can share it—so your goal must first be to set up a platform-agnostic strategy and community.”
Iteration and experimentation were also themes repeated throughout the day, marking the importance of digital evolution and adaptation for organizations. In his keynote address, "Digital Fitness: A Matter of Survival for PR Professionals," Bonin Bough, global head of digital for PepsiCo, stressed that PR professionals can no longer afford to view platforms like Facebook as mere extensions of their campaigns. “There’s a gap between where society is digitally and where organizations are,” said Bough. “Understand the way technology works and use it to your advantage; leverage technology to drive engagement.” (To read more about Bough’s keynote, read the PR News Blog post,“Facebook Conference: Adaptation to Social & Mobile is Matter of Survival.”)
Visit PR News' Facebook page to see photos from the event.
Register now for PR News’ Digital PR Summit, which will be held on Oct. 5 in New York City, and the Nov. 10 PR News Twitter Conference, to be held in Las Vegas.