Social Media Week 2011: Facebook Takes Center Stage

Looking back on last week’s Social Media Week 2011, one thing is clear. The event that was born in New York in 2009 has certainly secured the title of “Best Newcomer” on the conference circuit. And Ogilvy 360 Digital Influence jumped at the chance to host events in several hub cities including London, San Francisco and New York.

Since February marks Facebook’s seventh birthday, what better way to celebrate in NYC than to host an interactive workshop with partner and Facebook powerhouse Buddy Media? Entitled “It’s 2011…How’s Your Facebook Strategy Doing?” this session brought together the industry’s top experts in branding and platform development to share their experiences.

The half-day work session kicked off with best-in-class case studies from Ford and Starwood Hotels. 360 Digital Influence’s Karen Untereker showcased how Ford became the first automotive manufacturer to unveil a vehicle over 24 hours on Facebook. How? Tips included rolling out photo teasers, serving up fresh content every 30 minutes and hosting live chats with Ford experts to drive lasting engagement and positive word of mouth for the new Ford Explorer as it was launched.

Alyssa Waxenberg of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide shared tactics that have led to the phenomenal growth of Starwood’s official presence on Facebook – more than 1,000 of its properties have distinct Facebook Pages. Some of her tips for success? Senior-level support, tracking and responding to fan queries around the clock globally and adjusting the in-person Starwood experience based on feedback shared on Facebook. See her presentation here.

A workshop on Facebook would not be complete without hearing the facts straight from the world’s most popular website – Sarah Personette, US Head of Agency Relations at Facebook, presented a “State of the Union” address to the audience in Ogilvy’s Theater. She focused on the fact that every brand needs a customer-centric strategy, whether its using Facebook to deliver customer service or crowd-source around product development. The fact is the web is reorganizing around people, and so businesses are reorganizing around people – because this approach delivers results.

Some of the latest Facebook numbers around the globe:

  • More than half of Facebook’s 600+ million users return to the site daily
  • In the US, that percentage is even higher: 70% of the 125 million US Facebook users return to the site every day
  • France has 22 million active users, with 65 percent returning daily;
  • The UK has 29 million active users, and Canada has 19 million active users

To wrap up, the event culminated in a panel debate featuring Pepper Evans Roukas of American Express; Beth Colleton of NBC Green Is Universal; Michael Lazerow, CEO Buddy Media and Julio Fernandez, Global Strategies International. Panelists focused on sharing their Facebook experiences and providing practical tips covering topics from fan acquisition and engagement to driving compelling, current content, measurement, effective advertising, and a look ahead to the next 12 months on the platform (spoiler alert: more mobile functionality and measurement were the top of the panel’s wish lists).

Could not attend? See TechCrunch’s report here.

And tell us, what do YOU think the next 12 months hold for Facebook? What will we be discussing with our panelists at SMW 2012?