MEC @SMWLDN: Day 1 Social Media HQ, Victoria House

MEC @SMW LONDON: Day 1 Social Media HQ, Victoria House


The first ‘official’ day of Social Media Week London 2014 @ SMWLDN HQ Victoria House was a brilliant blend of education and participation via a well-navigated journey through the current and imminent future of the digital landscape.

I deliberately use the word ‘digital’ rather than ‘social media’ as that wasperhaps the most encouraging element of the whole day: no longer were we confined to the set parameters of ‘conventional’ social media (e.g. community management and Facebook likes) but instead we saw a true exploration and more holistic view of a wider digital landscape covering content, customers, and communications.

Social media seem to be shaking off its rather elitist reputation and breaking out of its box and bleeding into wider digital conversations and considerations.

Some of the key overarching themes from Day 1:

Tell their stories, not your stories – it’s about them, not you.

  • In the past we have heard about how brands need to create and share carefully crafted stories to engage consumers. However, from the Edelman trust barometer we know our online audiences (and particularly digitally native youth’s @Bima) are far more likely to trust people like themselves, rather than brands. Trust and engagement increases consumer to consumer rather than brand to consumer and brands need to invest time in creating, sharing and promoting these valuable stories between consumers.

Straightforward transactions are dead, experience sells.

  • @RoyJacq spoke succinctly about how experiences now close the sale, and the importance of investing in an emotional connection with audiences. This was supported by @Johamesonline at KLM who brought to life examples of how they had utilised social to create experiences above beyond booking a seat on a plane.

Planning better for the everyday – we don’t go offline.  

  • To a degree, reactive content has easier and bigger wins (look at Nokia Lumia’s aggressive competitor strategy if you want an example of this), but having a truly relevant everyday conversation requires intense planning and sound insights.
  • @TariqSlim from Twitter gave a great example of how Vodafone have identified the top passions of their customers (Music, Movies, Sports) and then integrated themes, times, and interactions around these passions to build a path for their brand in the conversation.
  • SocialBakers also announced a new measurement ‘Consistency of interactions’ that seemed to support this – rewarding brands for being consistently engaging not just sporadically and reactively like Oreo.

Utility + Ease

  • Persistent themes that were mentioned in almost every session today. @Royjacq advocates that everything brands do should ladder up into making consumers lives easier and @BIMA showed research that showed millennials main priorities are ease of use and convenience.
  • @MarcusAsh even went so far as to change the name of his presentation from ‘artificial intelligence’ to ‘artificial assistance’ – we must take technologies and make them useful.

Humanising technology

  • @MarcusAsh from Cortona (Windows phone) spoke about the importance and attention required to make sure technology is personalised – they’ve seen it increases favourability, forgiveness for mistakes and overall tolerance when dealing with voice operated searches.
  • @Johamesonline from KLM also supported this view by saying he encourages his community managers to showcase their own individual personalities when responding to customers on Twitter rather than being a slave to a specific ‘Tone of Voice’.

Content destinations aren’t what they used to be

  • Probably the most popular speaker of the day was @billyhayward from Buzzfeed who reiterated that digital destinations just aren’t what they used to be. You can no longer build a wall around your content as the homepage for most publishers now is Facebook. Your content could well end up next to that dog on a skateboard video!
  • They used the analogy that publishing is like a Paris café – a blend of smart serious, frivolous and funny with an array of characters rubbing shoulders and interacting.

Keep your eyes firmly forward

  • @willmcinnes advocates that brands need to focus not on what’s happened, but what’s going to happen. The wealth of data that is beginning to be collected ( worth bearing in mind by 2015 there will be an extra 4.4million jobs created in Big Data @Bima) means predicting consumer behaviour is something brands should be investing time in exploring.
  • To do this they must start turning passive data to active physical data and breakdown any bottlenecks where data may get stuck in the insight to execution process.

Follow @mecideas on Twitter for more live updates from day 2 of SMW London 2014! #SMWLDN #MECatSMWLDN #MECthinks

Resources that were mentioned today that you might find useful: