Online Influence – social media revelations in South Wales

Last week I attended #oiconf – the Online Influence conference. It promised to deliver “social media content strategies to drive your business” and boy did it deliver.

Oi!2012 was the brainchild of Tony Dowling, a professional marketer who, as well as driving the sales and marketing for his radio station and writing an active blog, managed to organise a great conference for no financial gain to himself whatsoever. Appropriately enough, the idea was borne out of a Twitter conversation with Mark Schaefer and it grew from there, culminating in an excellent event held at the Celtic Manor hotel near Newport in Wales last Thursday.

Hugh Anderson with Mark Schaefer at Oi Conference 2012

Hugh Anderson with Mark Schaefer at Oi Conference 2012

Whilst the theme was “online influence”, the presentations dovetailed beautifully to give the large audience a real feel for how to utilise the internet, and social media in particular, to grow their businesses. It wasn’t a theoretical diatribe of new world digital behaviour; it was a series of practical, hands-on lessons on how to ‘be social’, embrace content marketing and utilise the various social media channels to the best effect.

All of the presenters did excellent jobs of presenting different aspects, summarised as follows:

Jay Cooper of Bloom looked at “being social” in the context of a “social business”, not just “social media”. His entire presentation is online here.

Emma Meese of Social Pop explored the practicalities of how to leverage the Twitter and Google advanced search tools.

Mark Webber, a self-confessed “content-wonk“(?) gave some great examples of how brands use different forms of content effectively (Taytos being the best example). He then stuck his neck out and randomly picked a member of the audience to give advice to. The man selected had his own electricians business. Within two minutes Marc had opened his eyes as to how he could attract new business via the Web using simple ‘how-to’ video guides. Simple, but potentially highly effective.

Pippa Davies (Mrs Motivator) treated the audience to a lesson in creativity and how to connect with your audience. There was also a helpful section on how to use eBooks, particularly via communities on Amazon.

James Cridland of MediaUK presented an entertaining session on the power of social media, particularly Twitter, using the London riots as a case-study.

Lastly, the headline act, Mark Schaefer of the popular {grow} blog mesmerised the audience with his assessment of how influence works on the internet. His messages seemed so simple, yet so powerful:

  • “Content that moves is Power”
  • “Influence has been democratised”
  • “Follow a model of Consistent Engagement via Meaningful Content with your Relevant Audience”
  • “Focus on Outreach to Bloggers”
  • … and many more.

It was an inspiring day. The vibe in the room was amazing as you could almost hear the pennies dropping, see the lightbulbs going off and feel the sponges filling with new-found insights.

Well done to Tony and everyone involved in the organisation of an excellent event and thank you to everyone I met during the day and evening who made it so hospitable and fun.

Watch out for Oi2013!

[ebook 2]

  • Always happy to know that I have been mesmerizing.  There’s a first for everything I suppose! : ) Thanks for the great post!

    • I would say you had your audience in the palm of your hand. Great to meet you. Enjoy the rest of your trip on this side of the pond. BTW, I’m really enjoying reading Return on Influence.

  • Jayme Soulati

    Ah-hah! I was correct…Wales. Imagine my surprise coming over to visit and seeing my pal Mark front and center. I should’ve known! He gets around, doesn’t he?

    Oi reminds me of that brand from France? Oi-Lilly. Vibrant.

    Sounds like you had an incredible session; these are the leaders in the space, but the doers (ahem) need to keep the candles burning. 

  • Just letting you know that the this link is broken.

    It’s a small world and I only talked to Tony a few days ago on LinkedIn, but he said he moving from the Radio Station for a new challenge.

    • Thanks Shaun, Tony has indeed moved on and has a new twitter handle which I’ve updated in the blog post. Have you spotted the online influence conference that he is running? I’m helping to promote the Glasgow event. You can check it out here: I went to the one in Cardiff last year and it is excellent value.

      • Thanks Hugh,

        I’ve just checked out the event and I think I’ll pop along to the Cardiff event this year. Thanks for the tip.

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