CaseCamp during Toronto’s Social Media Week

As part of Social Media Week, the latest CaseCamp took place going back to its roots as a smaller and more intimate affair compared to 650 at their last event held last fall. Held at the Rivoli in Toronto they had a diverse line up speaking including ING Bank Canada’s Peter Aceto, NOW Magazine’s Joshua Errett, CTV’s Alyson Walker, Bozee’s Idan Cohen, Ashley Madison’s Noel Biderman, and comScore’s Bryan Segal.

ING’s Aceto talked about the challenges of using social media in an industry that is highly regulated like banking and how they need to talk with consumers now more than ever due to consumer empowerment. For him it is about adding value to the community so that he can build trust with them. People want to feel that there are real people behind brands and having Peter tweet about the business but also what is going on make him and the firm feel more real and tangible.

Joshua Errett of Now Magazine talked about their strategy of engagement using social media. They cannot compete with the other news sites that act is influencers using social media because of the huge backend cost they focus on engagement using social media like twitter to talk directly to their audience. The challenge for them is balancing engaging with their audience with the control they give up by engaging with their audience using these social media platforms.

Alyson Walker who is now in BC preparing for the Olympics talked about their usage of online in conjunction with their sponsors and advertisers. She didn’t talk about online by itself but as a part of a larger strategy of offering content to and when people want it instead of just having it on prime time television. They will have 2,350 hours of content during the games and the digital component is another way to provide content and reach the people advertisers want to connect with.  

Boxee recently made a big splash at CES with D-link’s box that will use Boxee’s software platform. Founder Idan Cohan came to Toronto and talked about the latest version of their software that gets your content and internet content from the computer to your television screen. By Q2 they will have a payment platform available that they believe will attract content providers to their solution and hopefully one day will be able to offer more content to those outside of the US who wish to use their platform.

Finally there was Noel Biderman the President of Ashley Madison. The tag line they use is “life is short, have an affair”. The Ashley Madison site caters to those who want to engage in relationships outside of marriage. This is a firm whose sites now have over 5.2 million members worldwide by catering to specific niche markets in the online dating world. They have long since spread beyond their initial offering to provide a community for specific niche audiences.

His sites cater to unique market niches in the online dating space and it has always been a challenge to get the word out about his sites. As a necessity he has learned to use PR to get coverage about his dating sites. The most recent being the rejection of a Super Bowl ad here by CBS for his gay male dating service called Regardless of people’s opinion on the services he offers how he has been able to grow his communities is something to respect.

CaseCamp was a great opportunity to learn how these businesses are using social media, the Internet for their businesses. I missed out on Bryan Segal VP of ComScore presentation so I didn’t want to discuss it here. Congratulations to Eli Singer of Entrinsic for putting on the event as part of Social Media Week Toronto.