How EMC is leveraging Social Media at its conference, EMC World, is a great case study to observe. It must be far from perfect -- and at the same time I'll say I've never seen anything as comprehensive and engaging on this scale. There are global followers of the thousands of tweets, blogs, news clips, and videos coming from the attendees originating from 96 countries -- interacting with the attendees as if they were there, too. And that is from the "target audience!" The "official" content from EMC and mainstream journalists is on top of that.
What's been happening?
- ENGAGING COVERAGE: Our customers and other attendees have been doing the reporting on what they find noteworthy in real-time on Twitter, with a hashtag (#EMCWorld) for everyone to keep track of one another's "coverage," and in their blogs and news reports. (One remote observer compared it to the relative silence that comes from Live Webcasts. Twitter engages; it is 2-way communication. Webcasts inform, but don't engage.)
- ENGAGING COVERAGE CONTENT: Our customers, bloggers, employees and traditional journalists are sharing the photos and video clips -- you're seeing the event in the eye of the attendee. See this cool composite of photos they're taking over on my colleague's Len's blog. He did a search on Flickr, embedded it in his blog, and it shows up as a living photostream. In another example, an attendee turned on his flip cam during a Q&Awith CEO Joe Tucci and had it loaded into his Tweetstream moments later for everyone to see.
- ENGAGING RELATIONSHIPS: See the blogs by my colleagues Stu, Dave and Chuck. They all remark on the sea change they're feeling and experiencing in the quality of relationships with the attendees -- due to the fact that we've been engaging all year long via our blogs and Tweets (on top the more typical "remembering people from last year's event.")
- ENGAGED AUDIENCES: See what this "cynical" journalist had to say about EMC's use of social media and how EMC actually listened and responded in real time to what attendees needed and wanted during the conference, thanks to microblogging over Twitter and EMC's attentiveness to it. She also mentions how following the conference on Twitter made it that much easier for her to know what was going on where. In short, it added clear value and service to her.
- COOL and ENGAGING OFFICIAL COMPANY CONTENT: Frankly, seeing this site is what put me over the edge to write this blog. Check out EMC's social media site for this event containing video, blogs, presentations, event news updates via @EMCWorld on Twitter and more -- most having a 2.0 feel -- from the official company channels. See the 1min, in-the-hallway video of Frank Hauck, EVP of most of EMC, giving you the take aways from the conference. That's cool. See also the EMCWorld 2009 site on YouTube -- filled with customer videos, EMC brand videos, and an even an EMC employee/exec rock band, RunEMC playing a tribute song to our 30th anniversary as a company (look for my cameo!).
- Infotainment! Attendees and observers alike seem to love it! This buzz is rounding the globe.
So with my marketing and branding leverage hat on, what this engagement communication model has done is to multiply (100x?) the value of the event itself. This is one tree that didn't fall in the forest where no one could hear it.
So what about the substance?!
Is this just a pretty bowl of marketing whipped cream?
I'll point you to my colleague's Chuck's blog on that one. There Chuck reminds us that this is no marketing event. Aside from the keynotes, this conference is all about engineers presenting technology to audiences of engineers. There are over 500 EMC Engineer presenters. I don't make a habit of going to this event because frankly it isn't meant for me. It would make my head explode. They're talking in techie speak that hurts even the minds of advanced Phd's. Its like a Mensa-convention-meets-MIT on steroids.
-- The audience for this event spans 96 countries and numbers about 7,000. After JUST 1.5 days of the show, it was reported that over 1500 tweets were sent by attendees with the hashtag #EMCWorld. As over 200 attendees joined Twitter just today at the conference, I imagine this is growing exponentially as well. --
Kudos to everyone at EMC who put together what is clearly such a fine, well-received, and valued event.
----------------- Talk Back ------------------
What else did you notice in this case study?
This is one where new examples and value statements will continue to occur to me and everyone else who watched this study evolve for months to come.
And heck, the show isn't even half over yet.