Ten Interesting Takeaways From What’s Next DC

This week I attended the communication, social media and PR conference What’s Next DC at the Marvin Center at George Washington University.

There were so many unique things about the conference from breakout brainstorming sessions to the availability of conference speakers after their sessions. Here are ten of my favorites.

1) Social Media pros would love a Gatorade-style mission control center.

2) 2012 is the year of mobile.

Research by Gartner found that by 2013, mobile phones will overtake PCs as the most common web access device worldwide.

3) Measuring influence with Klout.

Your Klout score is about the amount you engage with people, and the amount others engage with you, not about follower count. (Confirmed by @tmahlman, Chief Revenue Officer at Klout.)For those who don’t know, Klout measures your online influence from your activity on various social networks.

4) Gamification is here and will keep growing. 

Alison Hillhouse, MTV Millennial researcher, shared that by the age of 21, the average American has spent more than 10 thousand hours playing video games. Ten thousand!Gamification is the use of gaming techniques to engage people and solve problems. Maybe you’ve seen badges, on sites like Foursquare for example? That’s one example of gamification.

5) Dislike button in the future?

Amy Thibodeau of Facebook confirmed that Facebook has no plans to add a “dislike” button. To do so would make negativity easy, and they would rather not encourage that.

6) Google plus restricts contests.

June Casalmir, marketing counsel, warned everyone that as of now Google+ bans contests, sweepstakes, offers and coupons on pages. Good to know, yes?

7) Be unafraid.

A larger sentiment by many speakers was the idea that we are limiting ourselves by waiting for strategies, applications, blogs, videos, etc. to be perfect. Companies should be unafraid to jump in and learn.The unofficial motto at Facebook? Move fast and break things.

8) B2B videos don’t have to be boring.

Stand up comedian Tim Washerencouraged attendees to embrace absurdity to create compelling B2B videos. Even if you’re not directly selling something in a video, humor is a great tool to increase brand sentiment. Make sure you ask a few other people to watch your video before you publish it though. They might not think it is as funny as you do.An example: At Cisco, Tim created a video about a $100,000 router with a minimal target audience. The router itself is so powerful and costly that only a small number of companies need them. He used “absurdity” to endear people to Cisco with his video “A Special Valentine’s Day Gift… from Cisco!”

9) Employees can convey company culture better than any communications team.

Many speakers shared how their companies empower employees to capture company culture with via images and videos. Comapnies can take individual business experiences, such as business trips or coferences,  and tell a larger story about the business in a human way. It’s amazing how relatable and fun these images are. If you’re looking to build sentiment about your company, and make employees feel important- this is a great idea.

10) Sketch notes are awesome.

Carolyn Sewell created them for many of the tracks. Want to see them? Click here.

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