This year at WPC 2011, take advantage of the opportunities we are offering for you to become more knowledgeable about how you can use social media to further your business.

As the person who runs two different sets of social media vehicles for the U.S. Partner Team (the U.S. Partner Community the U.S. WPC Community), I know how daunting it can feel to try to get started and put yourself, and your business, out into the social media fray. A year ago, when partners asked me whether they should be investing resources into social media for their businesses, my response was that they should do it only if they could make a true commitment to doing it consistently and well. While that is still critical for any investment you make into your communications and interactions with customers (Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and their ilk are communications vehicles, after all), I think there has been a subtle shift over the past year. The justification about social media used to be why you should add social media to your marketing mix; now, I think you have to justify why you are *not* using social media to listen to and respond to your customers, share information, and participate in relevant communities.

I think you’ll hear various aspects of social media woven into many of the keynotes and sessions that will be presented at the Conference, as it’s become part of the fabric of how Microsoft works with both partners and customers. But if you are a practitioner of social media yourself, or want to understand how to get started, there are some great social media-specific opportunities for you, and below I’ve  listed my pick for each day of next week’s Conference.

I look forward to meeting you in Los Angeles next week—I will be working primarily out of the U.S. Lounge, so please come by and say hello!

Cheers,

Diane Golshan
Sr. Marketing Manager, U.S. Partner Team
Learn more about what I do at Microsoft.



Monday, July 11 – 3:00pm-4:00pm and 4:30pm-5:30pm
The New Rules of Marketing and PR (MKT01 and MKT02)
Location:
JW Platinum Ballroom
The book, ”The New Rules of Marketing & PR,” spent six months on the BusinessWeek bestseller list, and the presenter for this session is its author, David Meerman Scott. A step-by-step action plan for harnessing the power of the new rules of marketing and PR will be provided, showing how to identify audiences, create compelling stories and ideas, get those stories and ideas to the most consumers possible, and lead those consumers directly into the buying process. Told with many case studies and real-world examples, this is a practical discussion about the new reality of PR and marketing.

Tuesday, July 12 – 12:00pm-12:30pm
Competing through Social Media
Location:
U.S. Lounge Theater
Join me (@dianego, aka @msuspartner and @wpc11us) for a fast-paced, lively chat about how you can use social media to add a new dimension to your competitive strategy. Whether you are a social media skeptic, novice, or frequent user, I’ll talk about different ways to think about social media and share ideas you can start using in your business quickly. I hope you’ll join me!

Wednesday, July 13 – 3:00pm-4:00pm
How Social Media Adds Value to B2B Marketing (MKT10)
Location:
LACC 153AB
This panel session features some of my favorite partners ( @meetdux, @TiffanyWI, @lizasisler, @DrSalonen) who are successfully using social media today to expand their respective businesses and showcase their expertise. I’ve been fortunate to be part of the planning for this, but I still can’t wait to see it all come together next week!

Thursday, July 14 – 1:00pm-2:00pm
Using Social Media to Build Customer Relationships (“Social CRM”)
Location: U.S. Lounge Theater
Join my colleague, Gabe Greenberg (@digitalvisionry), as he takes you through Microsoft’s own case study about how we selected our social CRM (sCRM) provider Sprinklr, and demonstrates how we used their tool to triage, manage, and respond to 30,000 posts in four days. Gabe will share what we learned from that experience about how to prioritize, operationalize, and govern social media marketing.

Looking for more opportunities to learn how you can add social media to how you do business, or improve your current social media strategy? Search for “social media” in the WPC Session Scheduler to find sessions and add them to your agenda.