Conference: “Get Social”

Yes, I am a digital native. I grew up with the internet, I really couldn’t imagine everyday life without e-mail and google and to a certain extend youtube, facebook and twitter. The so-called Web 2.0 is part of my life. And this video is my point of view when it comes to social media marketing. How brands can use social media successfully was the main issue at the second conference “Get social” on the 16th of October in the Helix, DCU, a conference by nine different speakers including a panel discussion.

Social media is about people. People like us, using facebook to keep in touch with friends, following others on twitter and trying to get followers ourselves or even become famous on youtube. So why should a business do social media?

Mark Cahalane, Managing Director at Edelman Europe, who talked about the Edelman Trust Barometer said, that people are most likely to trust either an expert or a person like themselves. Social Media is one way to make people believe that a product is recommended by people like themselves, their friends, people they are looking up to. And once people already trust a brand, 40% of them will believe the information after hearing it once or twice, while others need to hear information three to five times until they notice the content.

Used cleverly, social media gives businesses the opportunity to not simply get attention but also to show public engagement and therefore gain the trust and the “license to lead, not only operate”.

Next question: How should a business do social media? That’s what Claire Wardle, Director of Services at Storyful, Darragh Doyle, Community Manager at World Irish, and Brian Herron, Community Manager at Google+ Local at Google Inc., considered in their speeches. The panel discussion about “The State of Social Media in Ireland” with experts from the field of social media was also largely concerned with that question.

Big companies can hire social agencies or community managers for social media purposes, but really everybody can do the job, so even the smallest company should be doing social media. What you always should consider when doing social media is that you want to understand your customers which are in this case the users. And to communicate with them you don’t only have to be a nice person, but you have to be part of the community, or else it won’t work. It’s about being like the customers, talking with them instead of talking to them. And then of course, it’s important not to talk nonsense, never to spam, not to do everything and to manage your message. In order to stand out online it’s essential to self-indicate projects, to have a passion, to love what you do. Then, everyone can be a blogger, designer, journalist … And if something goes wrong: just make the best out of it. Brian said: “It’s ok to fail, but fail with style”. And a lot of big companies make mistakes as well. When things go wrong, delete the embarrassing tweets and apologize with humor.

Tools for social marketing were presented by Jane White from Twitter and Catherine Flynn from Global Marketing Solutions (UK) at Facebook. According to their slogan “twitter brings your closer…also brands to customers”, they provide three promoted products so that brands can communicate with their target group and don’t only tweet to a random group of the 570.000 active users all over Ireland. There are Promoted Accounts, Promoted Tweets and Promoted Trends. Facebook supplies promoted posts and sponsored stories to make social marketing easier for everybody.

At this point I have to mention some examples of effective social marketing which we were confronted with during the afternoon. The opening by Dr. Theo Lynn from DCU Business School used an example which you are probably quite familiar with: Psy became famous, using social media, not trying to protect his rights, but sharing his video, publishing it for free and therefore earning attention.

We also heard about a good example of effective social marketing from Philip Kelly, Digital Marketing Executive at Electric Ireland, who talked about their experience of Social Media. After a complete makeover they used a blog, twitter, facebook and to talk with their customers, for example videos about energy efficiency and most recently the electric picnic tweet hunt and the tweet café at Dublin Web. 

Ultimately Eric Waver from IPG Brand presented us a short version of his speech as we were running out of time. However, answering the question “Where is social media going?” is very important. We’ve come from simple homepages to social media sites to apps, and Eric doesn’t believe that the journey is over yet. You may well ask where, but it is for sure, that whatever is coming, business has to solve some problems such as dealing with non-official sites and apps, the decreasing value of “find us on facebook” and with complaining customers.

Unfortunately the point of view of the customers was only slightly touched during the event. The power that social media gives the customers should never be underestimated. Now, people can actually achieve, because together they can attack every company. United Airlines had to experience that, after Dave Carrol released three songs about them.

To make a closing remark: Just do it. “Failure is success if we learn from it” – Malcolm Forbes

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