Attendees at Lotusphere using social
Note: This a guest post by Kathy Mandelstein, Director Of WW Marketing, Social Business at IBM. IBM is a Bazaarvoice client. 

As one of the leading voices in the marketplace on Social Business, our team at IBM believes in practicing what we preach. This week in Orlando, Florida, we are running our annual flagship conference, IBM Lotusphere along with a new two day event for Business Leaders, IBM Connect. Of all the events that IBM runs, since these two events are focused on Social Business, it is critical that all aspects of the conference are truly social, transcending from online to the physical conference itself with a tight integration between the two.

We have taken our three tenets of a Social Business to heart as we built out the social plans for the week.

Transparent

The voices you will see in the social media efforts for IBM Social Business are not just those of IBMers. Our customers, business partners and many industry experts are helping us define and share the IBM Social Business point of view. Some good examples of that include:

  • Social Stories Every company has a unique journey on how they are transforming into a Social Business. We have invited our customers and IBM Business Partners to share theirs in their own words and literally make it shareable to the major social networks as well. This goes above and beyond the traditional IBM case study and reference to socialize and learn from each other what has worked for them, what tools they are using and the cultural shift within their own company. We developed this capability in partnership with Bazaarvoice.
Screenshot of IBM Social Business Stories. Click image to visit site.
  • The voice you will hear in our conference social media is not just from IBMers. We have the IBM Champions, actively helping us with our social media efforts at the conference. They have named themselves “Team Social.” An IBM Champion is an IT professional, business leader, developer, or educator who influences and mentors others to help them make best use of IBM software, solutions, and services. This volunteer army has been blogging both on their own blogs as well as contributing to our Social Business Insights Blog. They will also be helping us throughout the week with our onsite social outreach and activities.

Engaged

We wanted to make sure that our social efforts helped bring the community together in person at the event and then carried on long after the conference online. Here are a few examples of how we are engaging the community:

  • We have set up Social Cafes throughout the event which serve a number of purposes and will be staffed by Social Hosts, both the IBMers and the Champions that are part of Team Social. They will be a gathering place to interact and learn more about a social topic of interest, or a place to get help. We will also be offering social topics throughout the day that an attendee can come by and get a quick start or refresher on in a very informal, collaborative way. One of the central elements of these spaces are large interactive touch screens that allow the attendee to physically interact with conference tweets, blogs, video, photos, daily polls and the Social Business stories that I mentioned and literally take items with them right from the screen by sending it to their mobile device or email address. They can even tweet from these screens, too.
Inside the IBM Social Cafe
Inside the IBM Social Cafe
  • We will be running tweetups throughout the week to give attendees the chance to meet many of the people they interact with, often for the first time. We will also have social scavenger hunts to physically engage attendees in exploring all the different elements of the conference. For examplem taking a picture with a certain key person they have to track down–and yes they can use our foursquare location lists to find them–and then posting that photo to the conference Flickr stream. If they are the first to successfully complete the scavenger hunt they can come by a Social Cafe to pick up Social Business prizes.
  • We have established IBM Connections communities for both Lotusphere and IBM Connect so that the attendees can interact before, during and long after the conference. To participate in the communities, they sign up for our solution showcase of the latest social technologies, IBM  Greenhouse and then they join the event community.

Nimble

Throughout the conference, we want both the attendees who are physically at the conference as well as those who could not be there in person to have access to what is happening real time at the conference. They can do this in several ways including:

  • The Conference Social Media Aggregator, which brings the social media feeds for tweets, blogs, videos, photos, tag clouds all in one place. This gives a true sense of what is going on at the conference at any given time and on the back end helps us capture our social analytics for volume, interaction and sentiment.
  • Also available from the aggregator and on the IBM Software Group Livestream Channel, we will be broadcasting the general sessions live Monday through Wednesday from both Lotusphere and IBM Connect. We will also be streaming key strategy and overview sessions, as well as interviews and discussions led by Information Week Editor, Lenny Leibowitz. All of this great content will also be available for replay, too.

These are just a few examples of how we are focused on leading by example by really integrating Social Business into everything we are doing at the conference. To share them all would require more than one blog post. If you didn’t know about Lotusphere and were not able to join us this year, I would like to encourage you to still check it out at participate from wherever you may be. Be sure to check out the Social Media Aggregator to see what is going on and you can follow our hashtags on Twitter for updates: #ls12 and #IBMConnect. And if you have a Social Business story of your own, be sure to share it with us.

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