A Valentine’s Day Well Spent | Get Social 2017

Valentine’s Day is great for a lot of things. If you’re lucky enough to have that special someone it can be a magical time. It’s that day where you light some candles, dress up nice and have a lovely romantic dinner with your counterpart. For me, I can proudly say I spent Valentine’s Day doing something even better.

Get Social 2017 in the helix was my Valentine’s Day date and I don’t regret one single moment of it. Sitting in the Helix with dimmed lights, notepad at the ready and a group of amazing speakers was simply magical! Also, fortunately for those who follow my social media accounts (Twitter) instead of being subjected to the usual Valentine’s Day gift posts of Michael Kors watches and perfume, I posted content of great value and importance. To those who love marketing it is the best gift to receive on that special day.

Here’s some of the stuff I learned:

Paul Hayes

 

We were very lucky to be ingratiated by the presence of the fantastic MC of the evening, Paul Hayes.  Paul offered a lot of insights into what marketing entails in the real world. As the talk developed, this real world perspective on things really developed and it was brilliant to be able to gain these real industry insights. There is a huge epidemic in the world and nobody is talking about it. Nobody except for Paul Hayes and probably a few other million people. That epidemic is that company founder’s think that the world cares about them. Well to all those who own their own company I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news however nobody cares (except for your family and friends). In the brilliant words of Paul Hayes “Talk about your impact on the world, don’t talk about yourself!”.

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Spongebob echoes these thoughts…

Paul goes on to discuss how people in the real world don’t want to know where the product is now, they want to know where it’s going in the future. The enigma of the consumer is something which a lot of businesses just do not understand. In business this is a cardinal sin. In order to gain new customers you must understand what to target (Hyken, 2015). According to Paul in order to gain this insight, businesses must go out and talk to consumers! Easy.

The main talking point of Paul’s talk is one that rings true to my heart. Basically, CONTENT IS HUGE! All business with an online presence should focus on content because content is key to success online. At this moment in time everybody is always harping on about google rankings and a lot businesses immediately turn to PPC (pay-per-click) advertising. But they forget about organic SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). If a business has a clear content strategy and is consistently producing good content then google will rank them based on organic SEO (Patel, 2017). It’s also fantastic for ranking in terms of long-tail search terms in google. To sum up Paul’s talk it’s that in order to be successful in marketing it’s not just about one area of item. It’s a multi-faceted process and it’s all designed to make your customers feel more inclined to buy your product.

“People remember how you make them feel”

Matthew Weil

 

Matthew Weil is Head of Product at Voicesage and he delivered a brilliant talk based around the idea of using social media to engage. In the words of Matthew, what Voicesage do is “remove barriers to engagement between a business and its customer”. Matthew broke down the talk into the three biggest social media platforms which exist at the moment; Facebook, Twitter and Sina Weibo.  He also went on to talk about new forms of engagement not only on a social level but on a human function level with the introduction of chatbots and the internet of things (IoT).

Social engagement is something which a lot of companies get right and a lot of companies get wrong. It’s tough to find what works and what doesn’t but in order to engage on social media a business should understand what each platform’s strengths and weaknesses are and . Matthew echoed this opinion in his talk. Weil discussed how Facebook is genuinely incredible in terms of the huge market place it offers. Businesses can market directly to prospective customers based on location, age, gender, interests and more! This is a revolution in terms of marketing as it allows businesses to engage with customers from the click of a button. Matthew continues to discuss how Twitter’s main strength is that it is a fantastic builder of brand advocates. He discusses how Twitter offers a platform for companies to build emotional connections to their brands by responding to users and how if utilised properly it is a great way to build business for free. However it was apparent from Weil’s talk that he believes Sina Weibo is the dark horse of the trio. Sina Weibo is a Chinese social media platform which is closely monitored by the Chinese government. Weil discussed how Weibo is so different because it is a business to business eco-system in which social engagement occurs but also products get sold.

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There’s so many social media platforms, it’s hard to know which to use.

Matthew also discussed how it is important for brands not just to engage on one platform but to do it everywhere. This sentiment was reverberated when he went onto discuss how ChatBots are changing how we speak to companies. While we think we are having a conversation with Jane from Arkansas we are actually speaking to a computer programme which is able to interpret messages and come up with appropriate responses. This changes the face of chatting to customers and gives customers an immediate response. However it must be noted that if done incorrectly then it can offer a negative customer experience. Weil discusses how in the past Chatbots have failed because they do try to be a little too much like Jane from Arkansas and not a robot. He then goes on to discuss how IoT is changing the globe and allowing customers to directly engage with businesses on the most personal of levels through using a network of cloud connected devices. All in all, it is so important to engage not just on one facet but on ALL PLATFORMS!

Aisling Tobin

 

Aisling Tobin is the Senior Brand Manager at Jameson and she delivered an excellent talk centred around communicating with consumers on a social-emotional level. From listening to Aisling’s talk it is clear that Jameson places a big focus on branding and communicating their message to consumers in a way which increases the likelihood those consumers will turn into customers of their fine Irish whiskey. Aisling discusses how it is important to build a user persona in order to understand how to market yourself and communicate (Jameson’s user persona group are brilliantly called LADS) with your consumers. Tobin supports the view that businesses should drive advocacy via emotional connections, targeting user groups and that this will in-turn increase sales. Such as Matthew Weil Tobin outlined the major social networks Jameson markets on such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc.

Aisling discussed how social listening is a major producer of cohesive info and data on your social media audience (Kantar, 2016).  Tools like Google Alerts and BuzzSumo allow businesses to see who’s talking about them, where they are talking and what they are saying. Aisling gave great insights into the ever expanding world of social insights, brand building and communication.

Hugh Curran

 

Hugh Curran is a digital transformation consultant, blogger, social media enthusiast and just general funny guy. He delivered a thoroughly enjoyable talk centred around content. Perhaps I am biased as I am a huge fan of content but woah did I love that talk! Hugh gave a series of incredibly useful real-world tips about content creation.

The first major step in any attempt to start creating content is to plan it! Rome wasn’t built in a day but it also wasn’t built without planning. In order implement a successful content strategy you MUST plan it (Waghorn, 2013). Once you’ve planed your content Curran discusses how it is so so important to manage this. There are a number of different tools out there to manage content creation and a number of different platforms to do this (buffer, tweetdeck, etc.). Once this is done brands and businesses can then start talking to influencers in order to engage with their target audiences. Curran discusses how finding the right influencers can help you engage with your customer on a completely other level. But he doesn’t forget this can be done through Facebook too, he recommends to just “spend a lil’ bit of money” and this is fair. Considering Facebook is offering such a huge audience it would be silly not to take advantage of this! To finish off Hugh emphasises the importance of being realistic because realistically, it ain’t gonna work if you don’t be realistic! However most importantly all of these tips are based on one key factor that is…”DON’T DO CRAP CONTENT”.

  1. Plan content
  2. Manage content
  3. Find influencers
  4. Engage
  5. Spend a lil’ bit of money
  6. Be realistic

Paul Berney

 

Paul Berney is the co-founder and managing partner at mCordis, a company which specialises in mobile first marketing. Berney delivered an action-packed talk full of really interesting perspectives however the main focus of this talk was the idea of interconnectivity of devices. From listening to Berney talk about the international marketplace he believes it is an ever changing environment. However, the future reflects the past. According to Berney in order to survive the business must change.

He then went onto discuss the idea of connected devices. He believes that there is a clear relationship between connected devices and behavioural change. Berney discusses an interesting funnel by which he draws this link.

Connected devices > Constantly connected > Connectedness > Behavioural change

At the end of the talk Berney’s philosophy shone through brilliantly and that is the belief that brand is shaped by ability to reach the connected individual. When good digital content meets good physical experience it’s a major win.

Eric Weaver

 

The final talk of the evening was that of Eric Weaver, VP of Communication and Marketing Solutions at Xerox and what a talk it was. Eric talked about another subject which I have a great interest in. Over the last 10 years there has been a huge trend in the global business market place which is disruption. Disruption is something which has destroyed entire industries yet among business owners and financially motivated individuals it is good. Weaver thinks disruption ‘sucks’ because it does (Economist, 2014). However what is does bring is a sea of innovation and people working hard to come up with the next big thing. Weaver talks about how innovation is picking up and he also thinks that it is actually going too fast for us to keep up with! We need to start adapting to new innovations and utilising them for the better of all of us rather than running scared.

The main takeaway from Weaver’s talk was that disruption is happening and it can go from being bad to good but only under certain circumstances. He believes there needs to be clear guidelines in place:

  1. Audit
  2. Foster a ‘change’ culture
  3. Encourage fearlessness
  4. Create a path to an agile organisation

Weavers talk was fantastic and it gave an incredible insight into what the future looks like but he encourages us all to remember; “Encourage don’t force”!

All-in-all this conference was an amazing with speakers of incredible calibre and pedigree. It was a pleasure to attend. I think it’s safe to say loved my Valentines Day spent in the Helix with dimmed lights, a notepad and a group of brilliant speakers.

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Bibliography

Bibliography
Economist, T. (2014) Negative externalities. Available at: http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2014/07/disruptive-innovation (Accessed: 3 March 2017).
Hyken, S. (2015) Crucial for businesses to understand: Customers are in control. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/shephyken/2015/11/01/crucial-for-businesses-to-understand-customers-are-in-control/#3db1260f5a47 (Accessed: 3 March 2017).
Kantar, M. (2016) How important is social media listening in understanding customer sentiment? Available at: http://www.kantarmedia.com/thinking-and-resources/latest-thinking/get-to-know-customers-better-by-monitoring-social-media-sentiment (Accessed: 3 March 2017).
Patel, N. (2017) Why SEO is actually all about content marketing. Available at: https://blog.kissmetrics.com/seo-is-content-marketing/ (Accessed: 3 March 2017).
Waghorn, J. (2013) The importance of creating A content plan and how to get started. Available at: https://www.koozai.com/blog/content-marketing-seo/creating-content-plan/ (Accessed: 3 March 2017).
Citations, Quotes & Annotations
Economist, T. (2014) Negative externalities. Available at: http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2014/07/disruptive-innovation (Accessed: 3 March 2017).
(Economist, 2014)
Hyken, S. (2015) Crucial for businesses to understand: Customers are in control. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/shephyken/2015/11/01/crucial-for-businesses-to-understand-customers-are-in-control/#3db1260f5a47 (Accessed: 3 March 2017).
(Hyken, 2015)
Kantar, M. (2016) How important is social media listening in understanding customer sentiment? Available at: http://www.kantarmedia.com/thinking-and-resources/latest-thinking/get-to-know-customers-better-by-monitoring-social-media-sentiment (Accessed: 3 March 2017).
(Kantar, 2016)
Patel, N. (2017) Why SEO is actually all about content marketing. Available at: https://blog.kissmetrics.com/seo-is-content-marketing/ (Accessed: 3 March 2017).
(Patel, 2017)
Waghorn, J. (2013) The importance of creating A content plan and how to get started. Available at: https://www.koozai.com/blog/content-marketing-seo/creating-content-plan/ (Accessed: 3 March 2017).
(Waghorn, 2013)

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