I've just returned home to Melbourne after spending the week in Bangkok where I had the privilege of speaking at a financial services conference (not to mention meeting a lot of nice and very interesting people).
What did I learn (apart from the fact I don't mind Singha beer, the MBK Center is a totally overwhelming shopping experience and that Muay Thai, even if it's only an exhibition match, is still a pretty unforgiving sport)?
Here are three things that stood out for me (with 'social media marketing' lessons attached):
ONE - a simple smile goes a long way
The Thai people are a super friendly lot. They're always quick with a smile, and they don't just smile with their 'choppers' (teeth) either but with their eyes. The smile is genuine and it can't help but make you feel good.
LESSON: Apart from adding extra smiles to your daily routine IRL (in real life), try carrying that friendliness into the virtual world. For example, with 140 character tweets sometimes it's hard to adequately get across in words what you're feeling, or trying to convey. A gesture - a simple :) - can sometimes change the dynamic of an online interaction.
TWO - be helpful, often
The Thai people I interacted with were genuinely helpful. Nothing was too much trouble, and for that they quickly won my respect.
LESSON: Whether on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+ - or on your blog or podcast - always try and help solve people's problems, issues, questions; add genuine value and be helpful without the expectation of gaining anything in return.
THREE - the power of storytelling
I was lucky to share the conference speaking bill with Australian cricketing legend and media personality, Max Walker (pictured).
Max is a fantastic presenter but more than that, he's a masterful storyteller. It's an incredible strength as a speaker to be able to tell yarn after yarn and (somehow) string them together so the result is a practical and useful lesson or takeaway for the audience.
LESSON: When creating content for your blog, online video, podcast or social networking efforts, try wherever possible to tell stories as a means of getting your message across as opposed to simply pummelling your audience with facts, statistics and product information etc.
Oh, and to those 'friends' of mine (you know who you are!) who suggested I might end up with a facial tattoo as per the 'Hangover 2' movie, I'm pleased to report ... that it did not happen!