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Social Buzz Awards judges exclusively reveal what they're looking for from this year's entrants

It’s tricky to know what you should and shouldn’t do when entering awards and as the deadline for the Social Buzz Awards looms, members of this year’s judging panel have exclusively revealed to The Drum what they’ll be looking for, as well as the biggest faux pas entrants can make.

From using social media for social media’s sake to copying others and not clearly outlining costs these hints and tips could help you on the road to Social Buzz success.

Akhil Suchak, head of social media at Bauer Media

As a judge I will be looking for relevance and innovation. Social is all about thinking with your audience first and foremost. Once you know who your audience are you can research into what platforms they use and create social media campaigns that ensure visibility across the right ones. A poorly managed social media page does more damage than good.

The worst mistake anyone could make is simply doing exactly what someone else has already done.

Amanda Neylon, head of digital at Macmillan Cancer Support

I will be looking for entries that have integrated the social experience as part of their wider digital strategy. The brands that will stand out are those that have been smart about which platforms they use, have succeeded at keeping response rates high and response times low as well as having delivered truly engaging and shareable content.

Work that has clear objectives and clear evaluation is fundamental, even if the outcome was different than intended, which happens a lot in social. Understanding the what, the hows and the whys are critical.

Claire Dunford, European social media manager at Honda Motor Europe

What I’m looking for can be boiled down to one word: consistency. The most important part of any award-winning social campaign is presenting a message and a strategy that work together to reach an audience in the most effective way. How did the activity meet its objectives? It can’t just be the theory, in order to be a winner there needs to be robust results to back it up.

On the other hand I’m not interested in gimmicks; social media can all too easily be considered a bolt-on and not integrated with other areas. Social media is no longer growing up; it’s a sophisticated part of the marketing mix and should be treated as such.

Joe McEwan, head of digital and communities at Innocent

It is awards entry 101 stuff – but it never hurts to say it. I’m looking for entries that clearly and concisely demonstrate that a great idea led to business results. Cost effectiveness is a big thing – which isn’t to be confused with success on a shoe string. I have as much respect for big budget successes as I do little guy wins, but with so much more paid promotion on social channels these days, I want to be able to judge success relative to campaign spend.

Don’t write too much, if it was a successful campaign you should be able to demonstrate its success concisely and, if you can, be explicit on production and promotion costs so judges can fairly compare work.

Michael Antwi, social media producer at Arsenal Media Group

Most of my career has been in the sports industries so I’m interested to see how other industries make use of social media to engage fans. I want to see stuff that matters and I want to see creativity and innovation from brands that may not have the biggest budgets, but their campaigns are the most effective.

The one I don’t like is those who use social media for social media’s sake. There has to be a clear aim and it can’t just be part of the plan because it’s cool. There has to be a reason to use a social media channel whether it’s ROI or engagement I want to see a clear need for a brand to be on there.

The Social Buzz Awards in association with iomart are open for entry until this Friday (14 August) for more information on categories, the judges and how to enter visit the Social Buzz Awards website. Award winners will be revealed on Wednesday 25 November at the Marriott Grosvenor Square, London.

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