From platforms, to content creation, to how it’s changed the face of business, social media was the center of so many conversations here in Austin at SXSW Interactive this year. I guess it’s not that surprising given it has been the birthplace of Twitter, Foursquare, and even Hearsay Social.
But this year’s SXSW has been different. This week it became clear that social media is no longer “all hat and no cattle.” The conversations about social have markedly shifted from abstract concepts to concrete results: defining social media ROI was a common theme. Big brands and significant businesses are clearly and thoughtfully allocating massive marketing budgets to build their social strategy while simultaneously localizing their messaging. More and more, brands have realized that going local on social means having authentic business-to-consumer conversations, which has always been the vision of truly valuable social marketing.
Of course, this wasn’t Hearsay Social’s first rodeo.
We gratefully rejoined many of our best partners for incredible events and parties–from the Bloody Mary brunch at Facebook’s Austin offices to the Facebook-Google-Twitter panel on the future of social Web identity to foursquare’s hottest-party-in-town Sunday night at the Cedar Street Courtyard, we had a heck of a time kicking up our boots and connecting with our favorite customers and partners.
A highlight for our crew came Saturday night when we hosted a couple dozen partners and brands at world-famous Stubb’s BBQ for an evening of conversation, SXSW story sharing, and general merriment. It was incredible to see so many of our customers sharing their thoughts on the future of social media with each other in such a uniquely Austin setting. And I had never seen people eat so many BBQ ribs and brisket!
Sunday’s panel featuring our friends Cynthia Johanson (@cynk) from Twitter, Joseph Smarr (@jsmarr) from Google, and Matt Kelly (@mattwkelly) from Facebook proved every bit as interesting as we knew it would be as they debated the future of social logins and enterprise SSO (single sign-on), a topic with which I am proud to say Hearsay Social has been a pioneer alongside the social networks.
All in all, Kevin, Chris, Clara and I are thrilled to have made it out to Austin for SXSWi 2012, chock full of social media conversations, Silicon Valley camaraderie, and good old Texas BBQ. We look forward to seeing y’all again next year!