The Figaro Digital Social Media Seminar took place on Thursday 4 December at The Hospital Club in Covent Garden, where a stimulating assortment of speakers came together to deliberate on what it means to live so much of our lives online. The day started with science and ended with human nature as Social Promote, Chalk Social, Hoot, 7thingsmedia, and Cancer Research UK took us on a multi-perspective journey through the ins and outs of social living
Engineering crowd behaviour
To open the seminar, Richard Summers, Innovation Director at Social Promote, reminded us that “We’re very social animals. We always have been.”
But Richard shows us how categorising the steps of a social media user is not easy. The different behavioural states of users – the transactional mindset versus the social mindset – mean that brands must target their messages accordingly. But how do we understand the seemingly random motivations of the social user?
Richard rightly asserts that it is difficult to find a person who doesn’t enjoy playing a game every so often, so motivating people by their actions is an effective way of getting them to interact with your brand. Doing this when they’re in a ‘control’ state – the mode of behaviour when, like popping bubble wrap, our behaviour becomes compulsively automatic – is key.
Is this a brand or a direct response campaign?
Should you change your brand to fit social media? Davina Dunlea, Managing Director at Chalk Social, says no. “Your brand’s core values should remain intact”.
Deviating from these values can have disastrous effects, as the social media backlash to Fiat’s #endlessfun campaign highlights. Fiat invaded America’s television screens with a neurotic blend of animated gifs, in the hope of appealing to millennial consumers. Campaigns such as this are built for Tumblr, but the approach simply does not work for a television audience.
So, knowing what users will respond to is key. Warehouse’s audience loves user-generated content, so their campaign experiences reflected this. Chalk Social built a social ad unit with Republic Project, where the user could scroll through campaign images, share content, and engage with the brand’s social channels, without a single mention of the price of products.
Davina stresses that this cannot be done without good data, and social listening increases relevancy: targeting is key. But, she pleads with us, don’t use buzz trends for the sake of it: “Consumers know what you’re doing”.
Being funny on social
James Rawlings is Creative Director and Co-founder of Hoot, an agency which specialises in providing comic content for brands. As a former stand-up himself (and co-founder of sketch act The Consultants, who won the Perrier Newcomer Award at the Edinburgh Festival in 2002), he explained the value for brands of comedy online. Why does it work? Because it is inherently shareable.
But, James stresses, there is a huge difference between content online and running it as a television advert. The audience is different, and the line of acceptability is a lot more prominent for television. But as the medium’s popularity continues to grow, “Online videos have got to be as good – if not better – than anything on television”.
Ultimately, the “nursery slopes” of social media mean that brands can move from their comfort zone and gradually test the water, without diving in fully.
Are we at a digital crossroads?
Chris Bishop, founder and SEO at 7ThingsMedia, gives us a glimpse of the future.
“There’s no such thing as ebusiness or ecommerce anymore, it is all just one.” But, “What will digital look like in 2020?”
To answer this, Chris takes us back to 2006 when as customers we were defined by what we read, where we lived, what we watched, and what we bought.
With access to social media, profiling is now better than ever, and the amount of information we can access about an individual is incredible. By 2020, will technology provide us with someone’s innermost details just by looking at them? Will face recognition technology merge with user history? The ‘outernet’ will potentially offer a chance for advertisers to make money on a ‘pay-per-gaze’ basis.
Chris offers us a warning: beware the curse of the digital tattoo. “What you do online becomes immortal.” Rewording Andy Warhol’s famous assertion, Chris asks if, in the future, everyone will be anonymous for just 15 minutes.
#Nomakeupselfie and how Cancer Research UK raised £8 Million in a week
Cancer Research UK didn’t start the #nomakeupselfie trend, says Prue Watson, Senior Social Media Executive at Cancer Research UK. The people did. The trend escalated organically after one young mum posted a makeup-less selfie on social media, stating that she wanted to do it to raise money for cancer. Overnight, her Facebook following grew, and Prue stresses that this trend wouldn’t have rocketed for the charity if there hadn’t been someone working out-of-hours to spot the phenomenon. The campaign was put together fast. It was raw and it was simple. That’s why supporters loved it.
The campaign achieved £1 million in its first 24 hours, and £8 million in a week. This allowed Cancer Research UK to fund 10 new clinical trials which they had turned down just the previous week.
The campaign reached over 80 per cent of the UK – that’s a lot of naked faces. What can we learn from Prue and the team at Cancer Research UK? That out-of-hours social media cover is essential, and “polished imagery isn’t necessarily a good thing”.
Article by Estelle Hakner