Last week, the eyes of everyone who’s anyone in UK social media were focussed on the BFI as London’s annual Social Media Week took place. Some of the brightest minds in the industry gave their thoughts on what’s working, the strategies we needed to think about, and the direction of the industry. Topics such as the use of social media data across marketing departments and agency pitching drew universal agreement (as we sat there feeling smugly vindicated), whereas topics such as the role of LAD publishers sparked heated debate.
If you didn’t make it (or you went but spent all the time ‘networking’), fear not. Audiense was on hand to find some of the key points that need to be implemented into your marketing strategy and commercial thinking right away.
A recurring theme is: from where are marketing ideas going to come?
"Platforms have evolved so quickly for content, what performs best one month may be outdated the next. But, if we skew our focus too far to the nitty-gritty of performance on those platforms, we’ll lose the energy and creative spirit that made social such a force in the first place. The strategies for combining these two aspects needs to come from platform strategists and creatives who are embedded in this stuff and have an understanding of the business goals. Not business leaders themselves who have a company to run."
Chris Perry, Chief Digital Officer, Weber Shandwick
No business has ever survived by ignoring what their audience thought of their product. Not that anyone deliberately does that but, even today, we see brands seemingly oblivious to who is actually using their products, and why. Social media presents a unique opportunity to regularly listen to, and understand, your audience better than ever before. There are thousands of data points to capture, so find the ones that matter and build the picture from them.
"Great tech doesn’t improve bad ideas. The value isn’t in the hardware, it’s in the community and how they use it. For example, MyFitnessPal was purchased by Under Armour because of the users and how they interacted with it, not the product itself. The companies may create the tech, but it's the users that set the rules and the context. As a result, the effect on the end user needs to be looked at when tech is created."
Vikki Chowney, Director of Content & Publishing Strategies, Hill+Knowlton Strategies
Social media has always allowed a greater level of flexibility than traditional marketing, but the analytical capabilities available to marketers ensure that testing on social will deliver far more strategic certainties than in years gone by.
“The old creative approach was driven by subjective qualities, like “cool” or “brand equity”. It was informed by a few people, with high production costs on a few pieces, and a large budget spent pushing those few pieces. NOW, analytics, strategy, and creative teams work together from the outset. Ideas come from social listening, competitive intelligence, and consumer insights. One size doesn't fit all, so content has to be crafted based on the best practices of that platform. We can even tweak it while a campaign is running.”
Ryan Murphy, Creative Director, VaynerMedia
From day one, marketing and management teams need to be aligned on what’s expected and how it will be measured. This will avoid confusion and allow productive dialogue between teams when assessing activity throughout the campaign.
“We must align to a measurement framework so that all partners – clients, agencies, everyone – understands what constitutes success. At FHF we use a measurement model which allows us to align our client’s objectives with KPIs across each stage of the framework: Exposure, engagement, influence, activation and loyalty. This ensures it is crystal clear what the goal posts are, and how we’ll know we’ve reached them."
Allison Adams, Director of Insights & Planning, Research & Analytics Lead EMEA, FleishmanHillard Fishburn
Choosing the right influencer for your campaign is so important that we wrote a whole eBook on how to find the right influencers for your campaign. A growing number of brands are utilising smaller, more niche influencers that have a relevant opinion in their field. Why not consider it for your campaign?
"The sweet spot for influencer marketing is not coveting an expensive celebrity endorsement, consumers see through those. Instead, micro-influencers have become a more trusted source when it comes for recommendations on what to buy. They are passionate and active in their field, and are far more likely to have a valid opinion on a product than someone who is just paid to say how good it is."
Ian Irving, Co-founder & Creative Strategist, Kemosabe
As mentioned earlier, social media allows for on-the-fly editing of a campaign. To successfully do this at scale, brands and agencies need to set up responsive feedback loops to allow them to execute these changes.
“Think bottom-up, not top down. You don’t have to come up with a big idea and make everything fit it. Social allows you to test and see how it's performing, then invest in what you now know works. Invest in building a feedback loop, it will positively affect the work you can do and ground it in what’s truly having an effect. Make sure it’s not just data for data’s sake. This will have an immediate impact on what you’re doing, but this thinking is the beginning of a much larger shift that will make marketing budgets work harder for brands.
Eric Fulwiler, Executive Director, VaynerMedia
Do you remember being told that you were the millionth visitor to every other website you visited? That’s what the internet looks like without relevant targeting. The further we get from that is a plus, and utilising data from apps, Twitter, and your CRM is going to allow a far more nuanced experience with your brand for your audience.
“We’re now able to pull data out of how people are engaged with other apps, and use that to put targeting data into social ads. Using the data from other apps will give us far more relevance in terms of when, and what people want. It brings the targeting to another level. The more we get that context, the more powerful we can make it for clients and customers.”
Marcus Dyer, Managing Director, Weber Shandwick
While it’s satisfying to look into your data and see expected correlations, you also need to look for - and be able to identify - when this isn’t the case. Sometimes it will reveal patterns that aren’t obvious during your initial strategic planning.
"Try to discover and understand unexpected shopping combinations of your customers. When we looked through the data of what buying signals people were giving out, and what they actually ended up buying, we saw that many correlated with our expectations but some took us by surprise. For example, we noticed a trend between people initially appearing interested in baby care products but ended up buying high end cameras. The same happened for streaming services with chocolate, and for cycling combined with vaping. Looking at data highlighted these connections, human intuition then explained it.“
Alicia Navarro, CEO and founder, Skimlinks
Global brands have long tried to connect their larger vision to the daily lives of their customers, and more brands will be implementing this approach into their social strategy. It allows for a narrative strategy to be targeted to different areas depending on how it affects them, with supporting content tweaked where appropriate.
"Philips have set a goal to improve 3 billion lives a year by 2025. To show that Philips was actually making a difference, we built our campaign around the insight that companies need to connect with the needs of communities to show societal change. We conducted a living experiment in the town of Uppsala, Sweden – using Philips connected lighting solutions to allow children to continue using a park once darkness had fallen during the country’s short Winter days. The success the campaign enjoyed proved that bringing a company’s goals in line with the smaller needs of people's’ everyday lives allows their aim to resonate.”
Adam Gaworski, Creative Strategy, FleishmanHillard Fishburn
Do you have one of those friends who always says they’re “so random”? Well, turns out they may be onto something. While machines can build things faster, be stronger, and beat us at Chess, the ability for random, non-linear thought is still a no-contest victory for us.
“Computer algorithms are now drastically more reliable than people, so will this lead to us becoming obsolete? No, because humans are brilliant at creating through serendipity. We can come up with random ideas that work, something that even the best AIs are struggling to do. Why does it matter? Because pure machine relevance gives an echo chamber based on what's already come before. What if you want to try different things from what you currently know and like? This is why we will always need this human instinct for the random.”
Gemma Milne, Co-founder, Science: Disrupt
To highlight the many creative ways that Twitter can be implemented into our lives (and thus valuable ways a brand can connect with them), we learnt how to have The Easiest Day On Twitter. It goes like this...
"Wake up in the morning, send a Tweet to start up your coffee pot and find out whether to water your plants. Then use Twitter to check for pollution levels, sharks, or earthquakes in the area. At lunch, I'm hungry so I get a custom recipe from Hellmann's by Tweeting them some random ingredients I have. In the evening I can watch NFL live on Twitter, and Tweet an emoji to Dominos to order a pizza. I suddenly remember I have a baby, as the Huggies app Tweets me to remind me to change its nappie. Then I Tweet Heineken, who suggest the best bar for a great night out."
Helen Lawrence, Head Of Creative Agency Development, Twitter
We only have two hands (which need to stay attached to the same body), so we couldn’t be taking notes at every venue for every talk. What were some of the highlights for your Social Media Week?