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I recently attended the Salesforce, Cloudforce event, in London and was struck by the passion and enthusiasm of the attendees and hosts alike. In 2011 the event drew 5,000 people and was watched by a further 11,000 people online. The 2012 event was attended by over 14,000 people and watched online by a further 5,000 viewers. The net gain of 3,000 users may not sound that impressive, what is however impressive is that 9,000 people stepped away from their screens and made an effort to meet, greet and then tweet.


The keynote speech (view below) was presented by the current Salesforce Chief Operating Officer, George Hu. Although not quite as flamboyant as the Chief Executive Officer Marc Benhoff, he offered great insights into the way the online world is developing.


It is clear that social media is changing the way consumers discover and associate with brands at an explosive pace. In a recent study of social media impact on profits, Social@Ogilvy found that social media is the top driver of impact. Out of 20 channels analyzed, social media was number 1 or number 2 in magnitude of impact on spend and consumption. Impressive stuff, although it also got me thinking that good business has always been social. Throughout the keynote I was asking myself how much Facebook, Twitter and other platforms have really changed the face of business today.


As the day went on and I listened and explored, I kept asking myself how the businesses present were using social media to improve their own businesses. The first thing I noticed was the offers of quirky gifts such as pens, memory sticks and stress balls. Just to break that little bit of hesitation in the approach and to give you your first dose of the marketing medicine. Nothing new here though, right? Free stuff will always be a favourite technique, it’s the social follow-up that counts. As they strike up a conversation, the exhibitor will ask if they can scan your name badge, and here’s where the magic starts. In that moment, you are giving them your twitter account, hooking up on LinkedIn and Facebook, and passing on your company contact details. Result!


On returning to the office, I realised just how effectively each company worked with my precious data to build the beginnings of a relationship with me. The stress ball was a good reminder, the LinkedIn connection a few days later kept me reading. The pithy tweet and the email (just in case I was still using email in this day and age) really made me familiar with their offering. The key here, as well as their effective multi-channel technique, was the quality of communication and this is the part that hasn’t changed over the years. The value was in the way they approached me, their choice of words and their willingness to help me without directly going for the hard sell. All businesses exist to offer you some form of service or product. No business however, has exclusivity on collaboration and great collaboration is and always has been built through excellent communication. The positive effect of real human interaction remains steady, whilst the multitude of new forms of business interaction are bringing benefits untold to business owners worldwide. If you would like to discuss ways of getting your business hooked into all the cool networks let us know, we would love to offer any advice we can on helping your business grow. Image courtesy of