LIVE: “The Power of Social Media”

Live from the British Library, we’re bringing you coverage of “The Power of Social Media”, where guests will hear from high-profile and successful entrepreneurs who have built their success around social media.

Tonight, we’ll be hearing from:

Ian Hogarth, CEO and co-founder of Songkick.com
Justine Roberts, co-founder of Mumsnet
Fraser Doherty, founder of SuperJam
Rory Cellan-Jones, BBC technology correspondent

The panel will be moderated by Real Business’s own Matthew Rock.

Please keep refreshing to read our latest updates. (Unfortunately our auto-load function is broken…apologies!)

18.20: The crowd is starting to fill the room. We’re expecting some 250 guests tonight, so it should be a great event. Tonight’s panel will also be webcast live from here, in case you want to watch the proceedings.

Interestingly, the New York Public Library and University of Southampton will also be live screening the panel debate (a bit like Eurovision). Very cool!

OK! Event about to begin. We’ll certainly all be glad to not hear the elevator music anymore…

The event hashtag is #BIPCsocial for those of you tweeting this.

18.30: Frances Brindle, the director of marketing at the British Library is on stage, to introduce the event. (You can read some of Frances’s columns here.)

18.35: Matthew Rock, a founder of Real Business, is now introducing the panel (described as “hubs of knowledge”). 

“Tonight is about how you can harness the power of social media to better your business performance. We’re all familiar with those awesome numbers about the growth of social media, but really we’re going to focus on the practical ways that you can develop and build your business using social media.” — hurrah!

18:40: Fraser Doherty, founder of SuperJam, takes the stage.

Fraser’s story is well-known already – he founded SuperJam after making jam with his grandmother. He started selling jars of SuperJam to neighbours and friends, then supermarkets, and then it all took off. His jam is pretty special: it’s made with just fruit – no added sugar. This helped him sell into Waitrose.

It’s been four years since Waitrose agreed to stock his jam. This attracted a huge amount of press coverage: from GMTV to a Japanese TV show. 

The biggest promotion done by SuperJam has been giving a jar of jam away to every Sun reader.

“A lot of this has been possible thanks to social media and the web. Facebook, YouTube and Twitter have been a big part of the brand.”

Fraser tries to find the people who are most vocal and excited about the SuperJam brand – those who love it – and gets in touch with them. If he needs to hire anyone for SuperJam, this is where he sources them. 

He’s trying a few things to get customers excited with the brand. “If customers come across a place where they want SuperJam stocked, such as small corner shops, they can send in the information online and I’ll fix that, and send them some jam to say thank you.”

A big part of what Fraser does is also “Jam Parties”, which he hosts for the elderly. Here too, he uses social media to help organise – sourcing volunteers, etc.

He’s wrapping up now, thanking his grandmother, who gave him the jam recipe. (“Thankfully she isn’t aware of her intellectual property rights!” — gets quite a laugh from the audience.)

18.50: Ian Hogarth, founder of Songkick.com, now takes the stage.

Songkick is all about finding when/where your favourite bands are playing near you. “We try to solve that problem – we’re a little robot that goes and scours the web, finds out about every concert: where it is, when it is, who it is. We have the largest database of concerts in the world. As a fan, you come to us to tell us what bands you like – you can do this by giving us access to your iTunes library, Facebook profile, etc.”

Songkick is growing hugely – has grown 8x over the past six months – and is now the second-largest company in the space.

Social media isn’t mysterious, he says. “The right way to think of it is: everything on the web is social media. Any web page can be classified as media, and everything good on the web has become social. It’s better to just think of the web as social media overall.”

“Good ideas spread faster than ever before – that’s an amazing thing for entrepreneurs, how the barriers of entry are changing.”

“Before you try to integrate social media with your business, focus on making a really good product first.”

Three distribution platforms that matter on the internet now:

Google – to find your site

Sharing – people telling others about your product

Mobile – new distribution channel all over

“The way I would think about it: think about how many people are willing to spread the word about your product? How many friends will they email about it?”

There’s a magic formula: if someone invites at least another person to look at your product, you’ll get exponential growth. It’s viral, it’s a magic tipping point. “So think about ways to motivate and excite your users/customers.”

Give people incentives to share your product. Both parties (the customer/sharer and his friend) should be incentivised to spread the world.

Product and marketing aren’t separate things anymore – they go hand-in-hand. Nowadays, the line is blurring as a result of everything becoming social media.

Ian Hogarth is being controversial now – telling the audience that Silicon Valley is the place to be, that entrepreneurs aren’t sophisticated enough in social media in the UK. “Any ambitious UK brands should head to the valley.”

And… he wraps up!

19.05: Rory Cellan-Jones takes the stage.

Rory is going to tell us about why social media has become an essential tool. “The only way you will be successful with social media is to get really involved with it.”

First Facebook, then Twitter, became essential journalistic tools – useful for finding breaking events/stories. Uses the example of the massive China earthquake a couple years ago.

Rory has also been crowd-sourcing information for his stories on Twitter. “Very helpful!”

“This will be useful for entrepreneurs: Twitter is a great tool for self-promotion!”

Read more on page two! (button below)

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