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Las Vegas was host to Blog World '09, the nation's first and largest conference on blogging. While it may seem imprudent to put the shenanigans of Sin City nightlife under the microscope of the most public medium in human history, the city was actually a perfect venue for extracting tips from people who are their best in the AM. There were as many useful nuggets of information at late-night parties as there were during the talks. Below are some practical tips and tricks for using social media like the pros.image

1). Anyone can get a more popular blogger to promote their work, but you have to give (a lot) first. It’s the job of social media professionals to be compulsively aware of how their work is being re-broadcast. I actually overheard CNN Anchor Don Lemon talking to a conference participant about something he remembered the man retweeting of his. Viral marketing strategist Mike Stelzner recommends that the first step is to get on a popular blogger's radar with frequent comments on their posts. Afterwards, hop on the reciprocity fast track by offering interviews and dedicated articles to their work. Finally, cash in the good karma by creating easy cut-and-paste twitter comments for your new friend to retweet at pre-planned intervals. Don’t be shy; social media people understand the game is about self-promotion – give, and ye shall receive.

2). Raw honesty is a great social media strategy. Ford Motor company is re-branding their recession-tarnished name through the unfiltered reviews of car beta-testers. So-called "Fiesta Agents" are given a Ford Fiesta to try out for free, and Ford publicizes their reviews, good or bad. As a result, Ford says it has 38% awareness in the US – a towering statistic for a car yet to hit the market. When I asked Ford's social media guru, Scott Monty, how the company handles scathing critiques of the Fiesta, he calmly explained that the positive reviewers immediately swarm over a negative post with their own experiences. Now, this is certainly a gamble for Ford: their product has to be good. But, it doesn't have to be perfect. In fact, PeopleBrowsr's Jodee Rich contends that companies get "a lot of credit" from the online community when they publicly acknowledge product defects with Twitter's @reply feature, and demonstrate a willingness to fix the problem. Indeed, social media consultant Dave Peck shows how Dell sank user complaints by 30% with this simple strategy of raw honesty.

3). Use Linkedin for unsolicited business opportunities. I admit, I was ready to bury Linkedin next to the MySpace tombstone in the graveyard of social media has-beens. I was wrong. Linkedin is still a Google first page result for many individuals and businesses. As such, Linkedin consultant, Lewis Howes, snags thousands in unsolicited deals by placing relevant keywords in 5 places within his profile (the headline, current work experience, past work experience, the summary, and specialties). Indeed, two audience members increased their keyword rank to 1st and 2nd within minutes of Lewis’ recommendation. As well, brand yourself an expert by creating a Linkedin group, which grants you exclusive email-blast opportunities to all members.

image 4). If you want to network with the social media elite, be prepared to actually be a lot of fun. Every industry has an informal playground where the bonds of trust are coupled. But, on a spectrum of Sunday golfers to rock star partiers, social media power players squarely face the latter. During the day, I would exchange business cards with a forced smile; at night, I received conference invitations over cocktail-drenched loud-mouth bantering with keynote speakers and conference sponsors. I forged endearing relationships jamming out to techno in stretch-Hummer limos and got the skinny on secret projects over 5am snacks in penthouse suits. And, anyone, novice bloggers or Internet celebrity, was invited along for the ride so long as they were fun. These opportunities aren't unique to Blog World. I've written previously how I befriended's team at an event where a senior employee convinced their camera man to jump off the roof of a hotel into a pool. So, strap on a silky black dress and don your dancing shoes. Blog World was a superb networking opportunity. I’ll be going next year; hit me up and we’ll have a drink (or six),

Gregory Ferenstein

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Schedule me for a speaking engagement: gregf80 [at] gmail