'Not every brand is the same': Sony's Hollie Bennett on why brands shouldn't fear being 'left behind' on social

Hollie Bennett

From live-streaming to Snapchat and near-constant Facebook algorithm changes what’s a marketer to do when it comes to navigating the rapidly changing world of social media?

As the deadline for this year’s Social Buzz Awards approaches, The Drum has approached to some of the best and brightest minds in the industry – who just so happen to be judging this year’s awards – for advice.

First up is Hollie Bennett, UK digital and community manager at Sony, who explains why creating meaningful content with influencers is now one of the biggest challenges facing brands and why they shouldn't fear being 'left behind' when it comes to new platforms.

How have platforms like Snapchat, Facebook Live and Periscope changed the social landscape, have you noticed changes in the way brands are now using social as a result?

We have always thought of social as being immediate but things have gone a step further and now there is ‘live’ to consider. Live gives us no opportunity to have a do over or to even have full control. However, it gives brands an amazing opportunity to show their personality and have a direct link to their community.

Has the emergence of these new platforms impacted your role in any particular way?

Part of my role has been focused on growing and developing our own YouTube channel, PlayStation Access. The channel allows us to create content that is packed with personality and engage directly with our community but our next step will be to think about creating live stream content and delivering this to a regular schedule. We will also be looking at how to build communities on platforms such as Twitch and YouTube Live and integrating this into what we do every day with PlayStation Access.

What do you think has been the biggest change to the social media landscape this year?

Personally I feel that one of our biggest changes is around how we as brands work with influencers and incorporate this into what we do. We find ways to work with, and integrate, influencers into what we do. It’s important that brands and YouTubers find a way to collaborate so that they’re creating meaningful content.

What do you predict will be the ‘next big thing’ in social and why?

I think that live content is here to stay and will continue to evolve; we’ve seen things such as eSports grow exponentially in the games industry and live platforms like Twitch and YouTube Live sit at the heart of this.

When new platforms emerge do you think it’s best to jump right in or hold back and let others test the waters? Why do you feel this way?

Personally I like to sit and watch. I work hard to cover the platforms I currently care for but, for me personally, I like to feel confident that I can not only develop a platform but populate it with content before I start it. This industry tends to be incredibly supportive and collaborative and often community managers will share their knowledge with their industry peers so that we can all develop an understanding of what platforms can offer us. We pool that knowledge together so that all of us can do the best with the tools we have. I really love that.

Facebook’s Nicola Mendelsohn has predicted Facebook “will be probably all video” within the next five years, what’s your take on this?

We already find that we are using a lot of video as it sees great interaction. I think the next step is not just about it being all video, it will be about making video content as strong as possible for the platform. We will see lots of creativity as brands try to make video content the best it can be and I can’t wait to see, and be inspired, by that.

A lot of brands still focus time and energy on ‘traditional’ platforms like Facebook and Twitter, do you feel these brands are in danger of being left behind?

Not every brand is the same so not every brand should feel pressured into feeling like they will get left behind for not being on certain platforms. Know your audience and which platforms they’re naturally engaging with, know your platform and how it works, don’t be scared of working hard to build the best you can build but don’t put yourself in a position when your fear of being ‘left behind’ is pulling you in too many directions.

Join us next week when TMW Unlimited's head of social Laurier 'Lo' Nicas Alder will be sharing her thoughts on Pokemon Go, Oculus Rift and more.

The Social Buzz Awards, sponsored by Buzzoole and Tint, are open for entry until Friday 5 August, for more information on the awards, how to enter and this year's judges visit the Social Buzz Awards site.

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