Week 3 Guest Speaker Roundup – by Ramona Durham

A Conversation with Sean Percival, Internet Entrepreneur & Former VP of Online Marketing for MySpace

By UCLA X425 Student Ramona Durham

The Social Media Whisperer

The first time you see Sean Percival (@percival) you might assume he’s in a rock band and that he’s right at home on a stage surrounded by devoted followers and groupies. Well, Sean does have followers, more than 13,500 on Twitter, but his stage is the Internet and some of his groupies include A-list celebrities and the leader of the free world.  He is the go-to guy for many high-profile companies, and is recognized as a leading authority in digital business, e-commerce, online marketing, media and entertainment. Sean shared some of his insight on social media with our Best Practices in Social Media for the Communications Professional (#UCLAx425) class at UCLA Extension. Our instructor introduced Sean as the renaissance man of social media, but “social media whisperer” is also very fitting.

Sean began his talk with a brief history of his impressive journey from janitor to successful entrepreneur, and included a little tease about a new venture that he’ll be announcing soon. He then proceeded to share a wealth of useful information about social media, including an intriguing glimpse into some of the more fringe elements that can be found in the darkest corners of the Internet.

The following are just a few tidbits from his talk:

  • Compelling content is something that can move at least two emotions in people. Sean attributes this comment to Social Media Consultant Tim Street (@1timstreet), and says it’s one of the better ideas he’s heard on creating content. He also adds that companies can build a strong community that empowers influencers to create content for them.
  • StumbleUpon and Digg are good sites to push content and help drive traffic to a company’s website.
  • There are a number of third parties that can help companies with many of their online needs. Examples include PromoJam, which creates and manages contests; and LaunchRock, which builds landing pages for start-ups and helps them collect data from visitors.
  • Facebook paid ads can be targeted to very specific demographics and tell you how many people your ad can reach. In addition, their analytics package is invaluable.

Sean’s final words were on reputation management. He advises companies and individuals building an online presence to create their profile on every available platform, and then to link all the sites. He also stresses that it’s important to register one’s domain name as soon as possible. When he told a story about registering his daughter’s domain name before he sent out her birth announcement, Sean showed that he actually practices what he teaches. His daughter’s website is now waiting for her when she’s ready to join the conversation.

Indeed, a true renaissance man of social media.

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