As clients aim to utilise the potential that both search and social media communicatins can have on their marketing strategy, McCann's Birmingham invited some of the major players to attend a day-long conference to offer their insights. Here are ten pieces of insight gleamed from the day.
1. Neasa Costin, Facebook Global Marketing Solutions: “Just as social media is changing how we search for and share information, it’s changing how we make our purchase decisions.”
Marketers must move on from placing so much importance on ‘Consider’ and ‘Buy’, when ‘Evaluate’ and ‘Advocate’ are now crucial stages of the buying process. Sharing keeps the cycle going – and 51 per cent of users prefer to use Facebook to share purchases over other channels, up to five times more than email.
2. Dave Coplin, Bing: “We need to teach skills, not tools.”
Just as our behaviours change so do the tools that we use to search, monitor, implement and engage. What doesn’t change are the skills needed to understand these processes. Teach an understanding, not a technique.
3. Chris Date, McCann Social Media: “Social Media is not an afterthought.”
Social media doesn’t exist in a vacuum, we need to make traditional activities and social media work together. But they are different – you can’t just apply the same tactics across all channels. Social media needs to be part of the upfront planning process, not an afterthought.
4. Mads Holmen, GoViral: “The rise of social sharing has shifted the conventional view of brands from ‘personal relevance’ to ‘group relevance’.”
Visual integration is becoming ever more important, with the desire for more content to be built into the customer experience. Brand preferences are now broadcast to individuals’ social and interest graph via things like Facebook Likes, the Twitter feed and Yelp reviews. The conventional rules for how brands are built will eventually evolve to address the reality that brands are more prominent in group interactions.
5. Livia Giulia Zappardo, Google+ : “Our social vision is to place a ‘social layer’ across all of your Google products, not just search.”
We need to start thinking ‘integrated’ at all times. Social platforms like Google+ can be integrated into not only display advertising and Search, but also your own website and offline media. By doing so, you not only create a more unique customer experience, you also deepen engagement with customers and get to understand more about your brand influencers.
6. Sara Burgess, McCann PR: “In the B2B arena, size of audience is less important. The quality of the influencer is the number one priority.”
Our business to business clients are now embracing social media as a key channel to continue the conversation and differentiate themselves from their competitors. In these industries, it’s not about mass appeal to turn consumers into customers, it’s about targeting and engaging with a (relatively) small group of influencers.
7. Richard Bagnall, Metrica (Gorkana Group): “Tie measurement back to objectives. Otherwise you’re not measuring, you’re just monitoring.”
Social media measurement needs more than just numbers, we need to focus on the metrics that matter. Traditional PR metrics should be used to inspire, not simply to justify our activities. Set objectives carefully – an objective that is not measurable and has no timeframe is just a wish.
8. Jon Block, ITV (Commercial Digital Products): “TV has always been social.”
The ‘social’ aspect of television is nothing new. New platforms and devices just give us new ways to interact with viewers, and in turn for them to interact with both the programme and other like-minded people. Our viewers want to be able to take part. They want fresh content. They want to feel part of a community. And ultimately they want control of their own user experience.
9. Neil Dulake, YouTube: “I hate the word ‘viral’!”
Having a viral video campaign seems to have become something of a holy grail in marketing. A viral video is not a strategy. Nothing ever really just goes viral, certainly hardly any brand videos. Very few exceed one million views. I hate the word ‘viral’. I prefer words like ‘contextual’ and ‘relevant’.
10. Steve Hollyoak, McCann Digital: “SEO has changed. The future is already here if you’re willing to embrace it.”
The future of Search will rely upon a complex relationship with content marketing, social media, and collaborative technology. If you're open to changing the way you think about SEO and are willing to change the way you view the search world (as a marketer), then the opportunities, tools, and platforms are available for you to take advantage of right now.