Three take-outs from #SocialMediaSmackdown

Yesterday morning we were huddled over pastries & coffee at We Are Social’s HQ who hosted their ninth #SocialMediaSmackdown breakfast event. A great line-up of speakers took to the stage to share insights from some of their social media campaigns, from Microsoft, BBC Sport and Direct Line as well as We Are Social’s own Creative Director. We’ve potted up our three key take-outs from the event:

Embrace change & stand for something
Graham Jenks (We Are Social) outlined the importance for both brands and agencies to embrace change & continue evolving. He championed the view that in order to be successful, it’s important that we all stand for something; this doesn’t necessarily have to be on a CSR level, but to consider how you can encourage people to participate beyond a single social action (e.g. a like, comment, share). He reminded us that people are our media and some of the best insights are curated on inter-group level rather than narrowing down to just one individual / persona. The importance of challenging the status quo was brought to life by Selena Harrington (Microsoft) who showcased Microsoft’s campaign for their new Nokia Lumia phone. This online / offline campaign encouraged people to take photos of set themes on their Lumia and share with others using #shotonmylumia. Microsoft showcased some of the best UGC in an ‘offline’ environment in the form of a photo exhibition at Social Media Week. This execution drove the conversation back online as people who visited the exhibition shared content through social media.

Be Distinctive
Chris Hurst (BBC Sport) spoke about the importance of being distinctive in a crowded social space. BBC Sport’s challenge was to grow their social following & make themselves relevant again to what they viewed as an ‘underserved’ audience. Social listening helped them understand their target audience & how best to reach them. These insights demonstrated that they needed to adapt their tone of voice and the way they created content in order to reach and engage with this audience and ultimately bring them back to the BBC. They adapted the brand’s personality to take on a punchier, edgier tone (better suited to the younger male audience they wanted to attract), take a more real-time approach through monitoring trends, and create & serve shorter-form, more engaging content designed to generate conversation. This approach increased their social reach & engagement, while targeting their key audience and helping BBC sport stand out amongst their competitors. It is now the widest reach and most engaged with of all of the BBC’s social media channels.

Drive advocacy on all levels
Many brands tend to focus on ambassadors and advocates with a high social reach and footprint in order to rapidly increase the visibility of a campaign. Direct Line had a challenge to win trust in an environment where insurance brands are often less trusted than banks. They adopted a single-minded strategic approach to earn trust through showing their expertise in ‘fixing things’ for people, brought to life as a Twitter campaign identifying users who had experienced a problem and sending them a #directfix whether it be an umbrella on a rainy day, or new shoes after one user tweeted about broken shoes. This highly personalised surprise & delight approach was executed indiscriminately, where the users’ follower base or influence score was irrelevant – being completely genuine and sincere was at the heart of earning trust. Direct Line has since used the activation to share a #directfix with influential bloggers & celebrities, but continue to be true to their strategy by helping everyday people.

Victoria Coppin & Sophia Moor

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