#SMWF Conference Observations and Commentary from @TwankersUK
WARNING: KNOWLEDGE GAP BETWEEN SPEAKERS & AUDIENCE MAY NOT EXIST. THIS MAY EXPLAIN THE NEGATIVITY OF SOME OF THE #SMWF TWEETING. SOME SYMPATHY GOES OUT TO SOME OF THE SPEAKERS
We’ll keep this post sticky for the next few days, as it will contain Tommy’s observations and commentary regarding the #SMWF conference at Olympia in London. We’ll feature mind blowing social media snippets; twankeristic statements and no doubt plenty of totally random lateral thoughts. Follow us on Twitter (that weird, yet wonderful 140 character messaging thing) at @TwankersUK or just keep an eye out on all the “Awesome Love” coming out of the #SMWF hash brown.
Day One: Opening Session @GuyClapperton
The conference was opened with Guy stating that Social Media isn’t new…and that would annoy some people. No one looked too angry. He then went onto say that a BBC Radio London presenter didn’t understand Twitter and all the egos…and was subsequently sacked. So she should be! Then Guy asked the audience if anyone had heard of Google Buzz….surprisingly there were a few nods; and some are even using Google Wave. This is an indication of the top quality audience we have here. Excellent.
Then we had a blatant plug of Guy’s book about Social Media (It’s in Bulgarian you know, and available from Amazon). Guy then finished. It was then a 10 minute break.
Then: Kevin Eyres MD of LinkedIn UK.
Kevin didn’t really talk about LinkedIn. He offered commentary on global collaboration and sharing. For us…we didn’t take anything new away, although what Kevin did state was good solid stuff.
Then: Katy Howells of Immediate Future (A Social Media Agency)
Katy obviously wanted to gauge the if the audience was full of social media gurus or not by asking if “Anyone has used social media before”. Everyone was delighted to give an affirmative and we all felt good about that. After the initial spin that social media is really traditional PR and business connectivity, Katy offered some insightful stats associated with brands connecting with “influencers” and how this had a knock on effect on search volume, increase in visits and even conversions. She didn’t reveal the time and effort to create such stats – we can vouch for the cross-eyed hours and days to make this data look remotely pretty and valuable.
Then Katy finished talking about best practice business structure to support and integrate social media into an effective comms/marketing strategy. Used M&S and displayed how they have marketing, PR, customer service and HR all part of the management and use. We endorse this approach…although we wouldn’t be seen dead wearing M&S clothes.
Then: Trevor Johnson Facebook (@UKTrevor)
We wanted this to be a good one and we weren’t disappointed. This was the best session of the morning and Clever Trevor gave some really interesting insights into what Facebook value and how the can encourage and enable brand/people interaction and engagement. (Be prepared for some messing around on the Get Real Close App) The four key values were be authentic, have real identity, share and add real value. All good and sensible stuff.
Other take aways were : Real farmers use Farmville…but their real crops tend to be neglected. Fan Pages work for small brands eg. Local coffee house updates its menu every Saturday morning, their fans flock in to sample the goods.
Then: Session One Ended with a Panel Discussion
After a sometime bigging themselves up and some members of the audience asking questions just to let everyone know they are alive. There popped up on nugget from Alison Wightman, Virgin Atlantic “No such thing as a social media campaign” excellent comment. Should set up the next session nicely which is called :Evaluating Social Media Campaigns.
SESSION 2 Evaluating Social Media Campaigns:
Muhammed Karim – Mars
A couple of slides in an Muhammed stated “Forget social media exists”. This had great potential as we believe it is now completed blurred and fully blended in with online and offline communications. Then came the KPI talk about ROI, Reach, and Influence. But next up was an guard statement of …“Social Media is Awesome”. The context was meant sincerely. This is why we came. Now feeling very fulfilled, the talk moved to measurement tools and it became very clear that there are many…but all are good for reporting and information. Free ones need more time; paid for ones can be quite focused. get what you pay for then. A key quote was “if it’s easy to measure, it doesn’t mean it’s important”…all the men in the audience agreed. Muhammed was now on a roll and ended with “Social media is people talking to people”.
David Henry, Monster.com
Started with a Wikipedia definition of “sociology”. Presented his “Social Wheel” and made an astute observation that social media gurus use this to bamboozle people in presentations. So true. He bambooozled us. Then came quite a pregnant pause, as David had to get a glass of water. There was a deathly tumbleweed silence type moment which made it feel quite awkward. But this soon passed and more words came. Which were based around, “You need a plan”; “Don’t get carried away with the positivity” (did everyone at #smwf hear that one!!) and finally and probably our favourite. “Get social media as right as you can”
The panel introduced themselves and fair play to Tom Nixon for having his finger on the #smwf pulse and potentially zeitgeist. He introduced himself by talking about the negativity on the #smwf Twitter stream. It’s easy for us to sit here and potentially criticise, but apart from a few previous nuggets, we and it seems many others haven’t heard anything new. Maybe there isn’t anything new?!! That would be scary.
Lost a bit of concentration during this stage…sorry about that, was hungry. However, Dr Torsetn Wingenter, German Lufthansa chap talked about Processes, processes, processes in a very passionate manner. Then there was some discussion around the 4P’s (Marketing theory stuff….some would argue this is now 7Ps! Thats 75% inflation!)
At a dry moment Guy Clapperton asked a question which, when you think about it, is very difficult to answer if you go too deep:
Q: “Where would you be without social media?”
The answer came very quickly surprisingly:
A: “VOIP buttons on our site to encourage calls.” Bingo! Followed by, “But the buttons need to be in the right place”.
Our flippant and quick answer would be “we wouldn’t be here.”
One observation is, they used the word “wanky” many times….are Twankers having a subliminal influence?
Then Guy Clapperton mentioned how his accountancy system was fixed in seconds by asking a question on Twitter….we think he meant a problem with Excel.
Then a chap from Sweden asked a question that hit the nail on the head. He challenged the panel that they were talking about social media as a channel, and that it should all be just called the web now…..This was diverted by “Yes it’s as bad as Web2.0″ then everyone agreed that “social media” was a bad term. This was suffixed by a group hug.
Freddie was very wise and skipped his first few slides explaining what social media is about. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief…you could physically feel the wind! He went on to say it’s social media it’s digital media as it’s all now intertwined and morphed into a big gooey mess. Brands need to recognise that “consumers” interact regardless and don’t care if it’s social media, it’s just interaction.
Freddie played the “Digital eco-system is very very complex” card, with some success as he backed this up with an equally complex slide. And then went on to describe a succinct and insightful overview of the social web or “social brain”. We’d recommend checking his slides when they appear on Slideshare.
He also stated that “legal” sucks and it is a barrier to effective social media engagement. Nice! We think Legal has to adapt quickly…if they possibly can.
He claimed the way forward, in the immediate future, is Social mobile i.e. Foursquare is the “silver bullet”. We would agree with his take, but not the term. We’re not hunting werewolves Freddie!! Facebook, with their location based functionality will destroy everyone in their path and swallow up Foursquare and Gowalla. We can’t comment on that just yet…need to see it first!
What’s the next big thing? “Anticipation” semantic web predicting what will happen next. Beyond the “now”. Basically, the web will know what you want before you even think it!! Or something like that. It sounded interesting and we need to look at it further. Overall, a very worthwhile session from Freddie. We’re pleased he ditched the airline business.
Lucas Herscovici, Anheuser Busch
If ever there was a Twanker-Likee for the Becks Ad puppet man…this is the guy. Maybe they are one of the same as they are form the same company. Lucas’s spin was around the person. (Yes persons to people ) He then gave 10 top tips.
- Create unique content for the web
- Local digital campaigns do not exist
- Recruit a consumer as your community manager not to talk about
- Monitor and join the conversation
- Your “traditional digital agency” will lead you to your breakthrough
- Mobile apps need to be simple and functional
- Facebook is a must, always integrated
- Create simple consumer journeys and offer accessible rewards
- Testing Digital Media and experiences
- TV is not Dead.
The above are obviously focused on a major FMCG. Be careful of 5…not all agencies are the same; 10 should be suffixed with “not just yet”. And the last slide was one of those circular schematic things, bit like a solar system. It was about experiential learning, and we’ve seen it many times before about do, measure, learn adapt…in a nutshell.
Alex Miller, i-level
Looked forward to this one, and again a good session. It did progress into a “How great are Next” (their client) but what they did was interesting and can be applied across sectors.
Social media is out of control was the theme…and it certainly is. Whoever is driving this bandwagon thing needs to pass a test!! A great statement from Alex was “Time for brands to grow up this is a mature space now”. Here here! or is it Hear Hear!? We don’t know, we’re illiterate.
Wrong questions to ask are “What’s my Facebook strategy?” and “How can i get more followers?”
It’s about relationships, measuring and creating a long term dialogue with your customers and sales ultimately.
i-level (Alex) took full credit for the next directory model idea…fair play if it was all down to them. Using social media to nominate, vote on and select real models for a real catalogue. Implementing it and sustaining it.
Ended with “Let’s stop calling it social media now.”
Talked about general brand engagement stuff. Chap on the right, with the nice hair, talked about Durex, which seemed to get Guy Clapperton heated under the collar slightly; “we all know what they do” he said. But that quickly died down. Not much else exciting in the panel debate.