Lunching with the ladies

Last Friday, I hopped along to PRIA’s annual Women in PR lunch at Zinc in Federation Square. The hot topic for the day was social media, particularly the business of being social.

The impressive line up of speakers included:

Mandy Solomon shared her research into new trends and emerging web practices. She got everyone thinking about the buzz caused by online games such as Farmville on Facebook, and how they fit in the social media picture. Did you know there are more than 20 million active players daily? Daily!!

Mandy explained that our online digital persona is becoming multi-dimensional, and one of the results is more people wanting to play social games. Furthermore, online social games are starting to become profitable. Games like Farmville hook people and then sell them goods to broaden the experience. And it’s not just business benefiting, charities are jumping on board too.

So it’s no surprise that Facebook is developing its own virtual currency. It has been estimated that last year alone it made $10 million in the beta testing phase of its virtual currency. This pails in comparison to its advertising revenue, however it’s very much in its early days.

Next Gay Flashman used case studies to show how social media can and can’t work for you. Gay demonstrated how well Huggies engages online with a subtle sell and by trying to build a community. She also used the Domino’s Pizza YouTube episode as a reminder of the changing nature of reputation management in the age of social media.

Gay told eager listeners the best way to engage with people on a website is to add value. Her other advice: be prepared to lose control and be open and honest about negative comments.

She finished with her Flashman Fundamentals: Prepare, Monitor, Engage, Measure. A lesson for us all.

The final speaker was Annie Baxter from Google Australia and New Zealand. Annie talked us through Google’s foray into blogging (which makes sense when you purchase one of the world’s first blogging tools), and how they moved onto Twitter in 2009. She explained how they use Twitter to solicit ideas from people. Her final piece of advice was not to bet against social media, because it’s where we are going.

What an impressive line up of speakers willing to share such valuable information. Thank you ladies!

Proceeds from the event went to the Lighthouse Foundation, and their ambassador Stacey Currie delivered a moving speech about her experiences and the new New Mothers’ Club for homeless Mums and Bubs.

Finally, congratulations to Marnie Kane from RMIT for winning the Merle Howard Prize.

Chat later,

the c word

PS. If you haven’t seen Glee’s remake of Madonna’s Vogue, check it out below.

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