Our Social Media Seminar took place at The Hospital Club in Covent Garden on 10 September 2015, covering everything from social video to social media partnerships. Joining us were speakers at Branded3, Great British Chefs, CrowdCat and Red Bee. Here’s a round-up of what we learned
Social in 2015: What you Might Have Missed
Laura Crimmons – Head of PR & Social, Branded3
“Social’s merging with all the other marketing functions now, so working together is key.”
It’s been an exciting year for social media. Laura Crimmons at Branded3 outlines some of the main updates we’ve seen in social since the start of 2015 and how they could be used to benefit your business.
We’ve seen the rise of image-based marketing, particularly video, with the launch of Twitter Video and Periscope at the beginning of 2015, and the introduction of native video ads on Snapchat in June. The demand for visual marketing is high, and a strong video angle is imperative if you’re going to capture your consumers effectively on social. To take this a step further, think about making your video experiences immersive—Snapchat and Facebook have both experimented with technology for this.
Shoppable social has also erupted across various social channels. In June, Pinterest introduced Buyable Pins, which allows consumers to buy products securely on Pinterest. And on Instagram, marketers can now drive traffic to their site using call-to-action buttons such as ‘Shop Now’, ‘Install Now’ or ‘Sign Up’ directly. Niche platforms are also growing: Vine and YouTube have both released platforms especially for children, and smaller brands trying to overtake the mainstream could potentially be viable options for your business.
What does all this mean for marketers? With social now being taken seriously as a channel for generating ROI and conversions, it’s essential to make sure that your social and marketing teams are communicating.
Social Media Food for Thought
Mecca Ibrahim, Head of Marketing & Social Media at Great British Chefs
“Don’t worry about being great on all social platforms. Find ones you can excel on and concentrate on those.”
Running successful social media partnerships, says Mecca Ibrahim, is about ensuring both parties are equally active in all aspects of the campaign. If Twitter is a strong social channel for your brand, you could consider conducting Twitter Q&As together or live Tweeting to generate engagement and conversation.
If you’re thinking of running a Twitter Q&A, you need to both be sending out invites, advertising across your company sites and answering questions in the Q&A. Both having an active presence is key to building an authentic conversation with your followers. If you have a big audience on Facebook or Google+, for example, you could use this as a call-to-action for your Twitter event.
Live Tweeting can also be effective as long as the conversation is authentic. Keep an eye on the topics that are trending, but avoid hijacking them unless you are certain you can add something valuable. You can often afford to be a little more playful when live Tweeting, so think about how you can make your content really engaging and spontaneous. If you’re Tweeting along with a particular event or TV show, follow the hashtags closely so you’re as visible as possible. Also, Tweet during times when people wouldn’t expect you to be Tweeting, for example at weekends or during the evening: there are plenty who only go on social media at these times.
Coherence – The Power to Move Crowds
Richard Summers, CEO at CrowdCat
“If enough people group together and are secure enough in a belief, they will spread it throughout the crowd for you.”
Digital media works in accordance with chaos theory, says Richard Summers at CrowdCat. It’s not repetitive: it’s in constant motion. And something that works one day might not work the next. Social media depends on the ability of seemingly chaotic systems to come together and understanding that is how the crowd can be influenced.
There are certain patterns that display themselves on social media which might be useful for marketers to tap into. First, consolidation: group norms can take over and users can change their behaviours and/or opinions depending on who they’re surrounded by. Also, things that might not seem to be related can start to correlate. Users might then start to cluster into smaller groups within groups, defining themselves against the others.
If you can tap into these target groups, instil in them a particular value or opinion and make them secure in it, they will spread that through the crowd for you.
Cracking Social Video: How to Create a Great Story and Engage Your Audience
Kath Hipwell, Head of Content Strategy at Red Bee
Michael Reeves, Business Development Director at Red Bee
“If you think of the word ‘consumer’, you’re more likely to start with your brand’s objectives. If you think of the word ‘audience’, you’re thinking about what they want to watch, engage with and click.”
How can you create video content that truly engages your users? First, say Kath Hipwell and Michael Reeves at Red Bee, stop thinking of them as ‘consumers’ and starting understanding them as your ‘audience’. This subtle shift will significantly influence how you approach content production: “Audiences make you think of attracting people, pulling them in and engaging them, rather than finessing a message for them to consume.” Once you’ve found your audience, make sure you’re speaking their language.
Next, make your content useful or entertaining. Preferably both. If your content is neither of these things, don’t use it. And bear in mind that, if you just concentrate on useful content, your relationship with your audience is going to reflect that. Social video can help you add fun and affection to the brand so that your audience seeks you out for pleasure rather than necessity. Red Bee’s video campaign for Halford’s, which you can view here, is an example of how they achieved that.
Building a compelling story-world around your campaign is an effective way to enhance its impact. Involve your audience in immersive narrative experiences and develop the characters to bring the story alive, and keep it alive between campaigns. When planning your social content, be topically relevant and timely. Tweeting about unexpected occurrences during major events significantly enhances your likelihood of being retweeted, so Red Bee suggest having some “spontaneously reactive content” planned for a time you think your audience will be actively engaged.
Finally, play to your platform. On Facebook, you don’t know if your audience will be watching the video with audio enabled or not. Likewise on YouTube, your audience can click away after five seconds. That means you need to produce content that creates narrative dissonance, a gap that needs to be filled, within the first three seconds, regardless of whether or not sound is enabled. If you effectively create a need to fill that gap, your audience will engage.
Written by Estelle Hakner.