[This is an archive post written about DigiKent3 in March 2014]
I travelled up to East Malling last Wednesday to attend the 3rd Digital in Kent Conference. The venue was lovely at The Orchards, and there were about 100 delegates from Kent’s vibrant digital businesses with some excellent speakers. It was a very full day: good value for the £47. It seems a mere blink of any eye since I wrote about the last one in October.
I travelled with my colleague Cameron, a digital specialist, and we took the opportunity to hook up with Janet Robinson (see photo). One of the beauties of this conference is the ability to meet and hear the right people!
1: Online and Offline
That leads me to my first take-away: you can’t do everything online. Sure, it’s great to meet new contacts online, say through LinkedIn or Twitter, but you should really try to meet in person too. I’d tweeted with co-chairman Paul Andrews about Deal Community Radio but it was great to finally meet him in person. The consensus seems to be about 1 in 20 interactions should be in person.
2: Know your motive
My second take-away came from Scredible‘s Thomas Power. What’s our motive for expending so much time and energy online, updating and reading profiles and writing blogs? What do you mean you don’t spend half an hour for each platform per day? Shame on you! Identifying your motive (or as final speaker David Cushman said later your purpose) is the key to having a successful and consistent online presence.
3: A vigorous digital scene
My third take-away is how vigorously companies and organisations in Kent are embracing (social) digital technology. Sponsors the Kent Messenger (KM) Group are re-launching their Kent Online news website next Monday after doubling traffic in the past year. There was a great case study from Kent Police about how they use Twitter and Facebook to help in different communication roles including fast-moving incidents and abductions. I already follow them locally on Twitter.
4: Be open
Authoritative and entertaining speakers such as Tamsin Fox-Davies and David Cushman stressed the importance of consistency, engagement, relationship-building and sharing information online. Nobody is going to copy you, so you have a lot of trust to gain through being open and engaging online. Secretive hoarders of information should think again.
5: What are people saying about you online?
Finally, your online reputation is vital. Not only must it be pretty fresh, but nowadays people look for what other people online are saying about you even more than what you’re saying about you. Customer reviews, blog comments and so forth will give you that vital competitive advantage at what Google identified as the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT).
For full disclosure, I should add I did take 2 other take-aways from the venue, surrounded by 200 hectares of fruit trees: a litre of Centenary Apple Juice and a (much smaller) bottle of 8.4% Centenary cider.
Many thanks to the organisers, particularly Josh Whiten of Webscape Marketing, who made an engaging chairman of events throughout the morning, and then gave a fascinating presentation on Google + Authorship in the afternoon. I hope he was on double time!