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Social Media Week London is a three-day conference that focuses on the latest trends in communication, engagement, VR, Mobile, influencer marketing, and of course social media. SMW London holds over 50 sessions and workshops, with brands such as Buzzfeed, Facebook, and ITV.
Over the next three days, I will be keeping you all updated on what’s happen and the key take aways from each talk. Check back each day for an overview of the day's talks and trends.
The day kicked off with Kat Hahn, from Facebook who focused on 'The Speed of Feed'. She first pointed out that we scroll through 300 feet of content per day. How can brands start building ideas that work for the speed of feed? She suggested there are three modes of consumption on social media and what captivates them:
They estimate that 70% of people are on-the-go and looking for immediate content compared to 10% in lean- back mode.
Key take away: Not doing short video is not an option
When you think of National Geographic, best social media performance doesn't typically come to mind. But National Geographic is one of the most engaged with brands on Instagram with 107.2M followers and receives thousands of engagements per day. Nadine Heggie, VP of Brand Partnership talked through their social strategy and key to success.
How do you get people to stop? 'By staying true to your brand, being timely with content, using the power of wow and wonder, and embracing new technologies to tell stories.' She believes that collaboration is one part of their success story, by finding the right story tellers to represent their brand.
Key take away: The future of social is through visual storytelling and that social is always 'on'.
Social Strategist, Anna Russett focused her talk on why it's so hard for advertisers to communicate through social media. Her reason was that it's so over done. Social is social for a reason, therefore, it can be hard to integrate advertising. In order to take part in social conversation, we have to do it in a meaningful way and not just disrupt your followers feed. She quoted 'You can't just make ads that speak at people anymore because people can now talk back'.
She also pointed out that she would rather have negative interaction than none at all, at least what you have produced has made them feel something. She strongly advised brands to stop using general and meaningless hashtags, if the majority of your likes are coming from a bunch of bots then they are meaningless. Find the meaningful hashtags and just use a couple that matter.
Key take away: If you're going to shout about your brand on social media, shout about it in a meaningful way
In less than a decade BuzzFeed has become a global network for news and entertainment, that generates nine billion content views per month. Richard Alan Reid, Executive Creative Director at Buzzfeed gave his insight on how they do this. He first spoke about how they test and mold their content until they found the best option, and this was a lengthy process of trial and error. Once they found the best option for their new content they would focus on tone. He quoted 'We obsess with the local tone of the market so we can adapt our content based on the data from that area'.
Once they understand their tone and how to market their content, they leave the rest to their followers and fans. They have built a solid community who like, comment and share their content. These followers have become their ambassadors, they do the sharing for them. What ever you capture their attention for you have to follow through with that.
Key take away: You don't want to interrupt the content people love. You want to be the content people love
'The average person spends 1 hour 16 minutes on social platforms and in this time you have to try and stop that thumb'. In order to stop the thumb, David Schneider and David Levin Creative Directors of That Lot offered a few key tactics. They focused on four platforms and suggested the following:
Key take away: Don't be afraid to be more human on social media
Throughout the day, I noticed one topic that was popping up- voice search. I decided to attend Patrick Givens, Head of Smart Innovations talk on the audience on the other side of voice search. He believes your brand could be having a conversation with millions of consumers right from their own homes via a smart device. As more homes introduce Amazon Echos, Google Homes, and Apple HomePods, brands need to start to look at what this means for them.
Key take away: He left us with a question - 'Will you be ready to respond?'
LADbible Group’s Co-Founder, Arian Kalantari spoke about the importance of listening to the youth audience and how they create relatable campaigns on subjects like mental health and politics to have a positive impact and drive social change.
They realized that people listened to them and that they could have a positive impact by reaching an audience who many find hard to reach. Their audiences are becoming more open to the harder topics such as mental health and politics. LADbible is looking at how they can facilitate those conversations among their community.
Key take away: Users are now looking for authenticity and meaning from brands
The key focus of this talk is that we live in a mobile first culture and video is our main consumption. The way we consume video is changing. Sean O’Neal the president of Adaptly covered the following points:
He interviewed two guest speakers. The first was Angela Bertram, Social Media and Content Manager at Carphone Warehouse. She said that 90% of the content they share is video. Their biggest challenge is capturing their audience's attention in the first 3 seconds and fitting in all the points they need to make. She also recommended changing your content for each platform. For example, what you do for Facebook will not work for Instagram. Make something different for each platform and you need to be very impactful with your visuals.
Secondly, he interviewed David Wilding, Head of Planning at Twitter. His key point was that ‘Video isn’t a strategy it’s a tactic’. It’s important before you dive into video you need a strategy behind what you're doing. Make clear objectives, don’t just use video for the sake of it. He also believes Twitter isn't about 'look at me’ but more’ look at that’.
They summarised by making predictions for 2020 in social media.:
Key take away: The way we consume video is changing, soon almost all the content we consume will be video
It is more important than ever to define a new, strategic approach to finding influencers. Oglivy’s Victoria Partridge and Chris Walt’s look at the influencer landscape and how brands can create clear strategic plans to pinpoint the right influencers. For me, this was the most informative session of the day.
Due to the vast majority of marketers wanting to tap into the influencer market, there are far more challenges faced by agencies and brands. They pointed out the following challenges:
They also looked at how the role of the influencer has changed:
They suggested brands need to start evolving their thinking. Influencer partnerships should be based on two sets of criteria:
They believe the future of influencer marketing will be brands turning to real experts. This is due to too many brands wanting to work with influencers and their opinions no longer being trusted. People are starting to look for authentic over perfection and fake reviews.
Key take away: Brands must focus on fostering cultural relevance if they want to survive.
As a big Love Island fan, I was pretty excited to hear how they made the show such a hit. Disappointingly, it was not as informative as I hoped. The panel featured:
Love Island used a 4-prong approach when promoting love island. They wanted to Push viewings, work with advertisers, push digital hub and engage with their target audience 16-34-year-olds. By controlling the conversation around the show and dealing with the demand of the show they drove the following results:
Henry Cowling, Executive Creative Director of UNIT9, spoke about how social media will become more social because of VR. He believes VR will no longer be an unknown platform but a shared social experience. You’ll be able to connect with friends and re-live memories. Cowling quotes ‘So we’ll have to shape entire worlds for users, making them physical and shareable’.
The most import step is in the user journey is convincing users to put the head set on. He believes as VR grows ‘Virtual FOMO’ will be a reality. People will start to feel like they are missing out on this new world and want to become part of it. Social help VR go mainstream according to Cowling.
His advice to brands and predictions for the future:
Key take away: The first step is finding how VR fits in your marketing strategy, the second is convincing your audience to put a headset on
Pinterest’s Creative Director and Strategist, Karen Bloom took us through different ways to reach your target audience through advertising and create organic tactics. Getting noticed on Pinterest can be hard so many people just upload a image and hope for the best. She suggested a few tactics to help expand your reach:
Key take away: Give people what they want, before they want it
Head of Platforms & Distribution at Iris, Digby Lewis, spoke through micro-moment mobile strategies that are transforming the way brands communicate with consumers. He made the following points:
He gave four key principles for Facebook Ads:
Key take away: 'If you want to take full advantage of micro-moments aim to turn 15 seconds into a 15-minute experience'
HootSuite Industry Principal, Adrian Cockle spoke about how we can transform social marketing strategy simply by putting Humans first. He believes the key to digital transformation is to be more human.
Why do so many brands struggle with digital Transformation? Cockle gave three reasons:
He gave four simple rules to follow to simplify your social strategy:
He quoted ‘Human nature stays constant. But the way we communicate does change. It’s our job as marketers to adapt these shifting behaviors’. Customers want to speak to people, not brands.
Key take away: Technology is not the core of digital transformation, humans are.
In this session, Claudia Page, VP of Partner and Product Development at Dailymotion covered the platform-as-publisher model. We all know newspapers and print and declining and online publishers are struggling too. This is because users will go to social media to catch up with news and media. Consumers attention is now spread across various platforms and channels it is becoming more challenging to grab their attention.
There is also a significant increase in competition making it hard for publishers to build and grow their audience. She believes in order for publishers to survive the platform as publisher model is the way forward and will be the only way to command your audiences attention.
How do we fix this problem?
She left us with a formula for success in the publishing world. In order to succeed you need niche content and credible sources.
Key take away: All media starts broad and becomes channelized over time
86% of millennials agree that brands should use chatbots to promote deals, discounts, and offers. We are social covered 2 case studies Domino’s, and Skyscanner.
After launching these two chat bots they shared some of their advice and reflections creating and using chat bots:
People are now communicating mainly on Messenger apps, 6 of the top 10 apps are messaging apps. We need to be focusing our strategy on these apps in the future!
Key take away: When developing chatbots aim for a more human conversation with customers and focus on the copy before the code
If I could summarise what I learnt in three points, it would be:
Overall SMW London was a fantastic conference, packed with informative and insightful strategies to take back to the office. If you work in or love social media I would definitely recommend attending in 2018.
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