Social Media Speaker Event

Posted on October 19, 2011 in Uncategorized


When Liz Murray from LJ interactive remarked, to an impressive audience at Magdalen College Auditorium, that it now takes only one week for a billion tweets to be sent, it really rammed home how far Social Media has come since its beginnings as an elitist curio of the American Ivy League.

Similarly, for an impression of the incredible breadth and adaptability that social media commands, you only had to look as far as the variety of speakers on the bill – an intriguing blend of PR, publishing consultancy, trade publicity and author ingenuity.

Liz Murray,
LJ InteractiveTwitter Challenges, Strategies, Opportunities

Joking that she was probably preaching to the choir, Liz presented a break-neck,“on speed” introduction to Twitter , its importance, challenges, successes and -interestingly – the odd bout of tears involved.

Like the other spokes that make up a marketing strategy, she showed that there was no reason social media shouldn’t and couldn’t be as well planned and tracked as traditional marketing media.

And while citing the example of Harper Collins’ Times Atlas (at the sharp end of an unfair but unchecked Twitter storm) as a warning against complacency, the point she really wanted to remind us of was that many companies would kill for the wealth of incredible content publishers have ready to share meaningfully through social media.

Joe Pickering, Penguin – Legend of a Suicide : A publicity case study

It was with good grace and a wry smile that Penguin publicist, Joe Pickering, realised that his award-winning publicity campaign for cult success Legend of a Suicide had not yet filtered through to much of his audience. But, if anything, the clear success of his celebrated Twitter campaign showed perhaps the most important aspect to social media success – one that was echoed by all the evening’s speakers – honesty.

Sharing his genuine passion for an early manuscript (and its subsequent development) with a niche audience of American literature fans, he was quickly able to build a community with a distinct and honest voice – a contemporary and trusted alternative to the book seller in our favourite independent book store.

The 10-month campaign was so successful in fact, that Legend of a Suicide’s few negative reviews focused on how ‘over-hyped’ the book was – fabulously ironic given the completely organic and cost-free campaign Joe had overseen.

Ardie Collins – Debut Author (Knightstone)

If ever an audience needed convincing of the power the internet has in making successful artists outside the traditional business model, debutant author Ardie Collins would be a wonderful example.

Unconvinced by the trappings of agents and pitches, Ardie described his own experience of self publicity on the web (or as he referred to it – ‘like leaving a manuscript on a park bench’) and the role it played in raising his profile.

Originally self-publishing his novel on, Ardie gained some handy suggestions from fellow social networkers, and decided to throw himself into social media completely – from writing blogs, to tweeting, using Tumblr and even trying to release one original song per day on his YouTube channel.

Just about to publish this first novel with Knightstone, he reminded us that book readers are forgiving of the sales pitch if it comes from somewhere honest, after all, “we’re not arms dealers or anything”.

Alex Martin – Social Media Consultant, 77PR

Of course no industry is an island and so hearing case studies about two famed  non-publishing brands gave a great showcase of the instant power and variety that only social media can offer – from corporate social responsibility, to crisis management.

Alex Martin first cited his work with Sony, showing how properly inter-connected social media and outreach use could build not only an entire collaborative community but an actual product – in this case the ‘+U’ app to encourage green volunteering across Europe.

A bigger challenge for 77PR however, was trying to make a concerted and interesting Twitter presence for the dauntingly broad audience of They found Google+ very brand friendly, but with Facebook being more of an entertainment platform, 77PR had to make sure its Twitter tone was conversational without diluting the power of such a strong lifestyle brand.

It was with Twitter, of course, that they found the greatest breadth of opportunities, as well as challenges – being able to provide instant customer service was great for example, but it also required 24 hour monitoring to meet the expectations of Twitter users looking for advice.

In fact, Alex’s point that your Twitter channel should always “reflect how people live” was one that could be applied to all our speakers’ fantastic work, and marked a great way to end a hugely successful evening.



– Robbie Cooke