Day One (and some history) – Social Media Lounge at Morningstar Investment Conference

June 19, 2014

Kickoff day at the Morningstar Investment Conference yesterday was great – even as some storms brought some frustration with travel for those coming into town (I was fortunate to be on an early flight).

The Social Media Lounge has evolved over 4 years at the conference – and we’ve covered a lot of ground. Looking back it is much like the overall industry has walked up the ladder. 

To tune in on what’s been happening – be sure to follow the Twitter hashtag #MICUS. The Morningstar hashtag has evolved along with the social media lounge during the conference through the years – with 2013 surpassing 13,000 tweets on the hashtag (#MIC25) and trending on Twitter during the second day of the conference.

2010 brought a focus on the fundamentals – how the social networks functioned and what basic protocols need to be in place to participate in social media. This was of course early stage as the regulatory environment was still taking shape in applying old and new rules to these new channels and mediums.

2011 centered on optimizing profiles – how to present yourself properly as a brand or individual online – from professional photos to translating brand guidelines to 140 characters.

The last two years were more of a graduation to the second level – with 2012 having a focus on building out compliance policies and good, practical workflows for using social media effectively. In 2013 – we began the exploration of more interactive mediums – setting up two dozen live podcast interviews on the show floor – with guests from Morningstar, financial advisors as well as service providers to the industry. Our educational resources were on the tools and techniques of using audio and video along with traditional text.

Here we are in 2014 and finding interesting questions coming to the front:

– How do I differentiate myself with so many firms becoming active on social media?
– Is Google+ important? 
– Can we really create good content consistently?

Those questions have been timely as our agenda (pictured below) is in tune with how the industry is viewing and interacting using social media.

We (Stephanie Sammons, Wired Advisor and myself, QuonWarrene) are running workshops throughout today and tomorrow morning covering these topics.

A final thought as Google+ has been a consistent discussion point as companies and individuals seek to figure out its importance in their overall digital equation. I don’t see it replacing any of the major networks achieving critical mass in our industry (LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and to some extent Facebook) – however – it is the tools within G+ that are of interest.

Recently they lost their steward at Google and some thought the days as a social network were short. That may be the case as G+ stands today. But those of us who’ve been active have seen the tools it provides as something that will outlast it. In particular I would recommend getting to know Hangouts and Hangouts on Air – which will survive any major change of Google+ overall. 

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