5 takeaways from State of Social Conference 2018
Art Director Cameron Jones returns from Perth’s inaugural State of Social conference with five observations on the impact and future of social media in communications:
1) Innovation isn’t a business cliché, it’s culture
Everything is changing and everything will continue to change. Those who don’t accept this will find themselves outpaced by their competitors. The speakers discussing (including our own Chief Innovation Officer, Ruth Callaghan) all talked about the need to trial and test new methods, programs and techniques. This is a lesson in itself. What is working for you or your company today might not work in the future. What are you doing to futureproof your company?
2) Social media – its own industry
10 years ago, a social media conference could not have happened in Perth. Even five years ago, an event with a broader remit than Facebook wouldn’t have happened here. However, yesterday I sat overlooking the Swan River at Optus Stadium listening to some of the brightest minds in marketing speak to a collection of Perth’s newest influencers.
In my mind, it was a stamp of recognition that we have a definitive and powerful industry here; one which is only going to grow.
Advertising agencies especially need to take note and get down there next year. If they’re not owning this space more, then they’ll continue to lose business to it.
3) Influence – word of mouth marketing still works
Crowdsourcing is a bit of a buzzword and it’s not something new to anyone one in PR. Journalists have been sourcing content from “the crowd” for decades in an effort to create relevant content for their audience. Using interviews, soundbites, images and footage from the public makes it more real and authentic.
But we rarely use the same tactics when marketing online. A cut-down, screen-sized version of a billboard won’t work as successfully as the full-size version next to a freeway. You need to connect with people on social media, not throw messages at them. Anna Franklin from The Urban List put it best when she said, “word of mouth is the oldest marketing technique in the book.” As marketers, we need to encourage and amplify those word-of-mouth messages already out there.
4) Behaviour – how UX is shaping the digital marketing space?
User experience has changed marketing and communications. But has it changed it in a positive way? Adam Ferrier had a lot to say about this and his insights often suggested that to the change hasn’t always been to the consumers’ benefit.
We’re entering a time where user feedback doesn’t just keep a project on track, in many ways, it has become the track itself. All customers want things better, cheaper, quicker and easier. Pleasing everybody all the time is a not a good business objective. It’s creating bland marketing with no differentiation and ultimately not making consumers any happier. The companies that do well are keeping their unique selling points front and centre helping them stand out in a market growing more and more homogenous.
5) A crisis handled before it happened
For Meg Coffey, the organiser of State of Social and driving force behind Social Media Perth, the unthinkable happened as the fire alarms went off during the last session and all the delegates were ushered outside. But, it wasn’t an event which elicited ire or frustration from the attendees because almost every one of them had engaged with Meg or #SMPerth previously.
Those relationships can’t be built without nurturing – and it was a good reminder of the strong community she has spent years building, as well as the value of investing in relationships now before you need to draw on goodwill.
It was crisis management at its finest and a clear example of why companies need to invest time and money into preparing for the unexpected.