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Digital Transformation Festival: industry experts share their top social media tips

The Drum Social is a weekly column from The Drum’s social media executive Amy Houston covering the latest social media trends, strategies and insights. Follow Amy @AmyCLHouston and join in the conversation #TheDrumSocial

Top tips for social media managers from The Drum's Digital Transformation Festival

From Mattel's use of digital channels to propel Barbie into the 21st century, to actionable social commerce tips from Deft, there was an abundance of top social media insights during this year's Digital Transformation Festival. The Drum’s social media executive Amy Houston explores this advice and how to apply it effectively to social campaigns.

‘’Be comfortable being agile,’’ says Mattel’s top marketer Lisa McKnight during a fascinating conversation on how Barbie is using social media to connect with consumers, in order to stay relevant and ‘‘inspire the limitless potential in every girl.’’

Barbie is a pop culture icon and has been for over 60 years, but to remain relatable with a modern audience in a meaningful way, Mattel has explored contemporary social media strategies.

As with any effective social media plan, the use of data is crucial and according to McKnight this is exactly where Mattel began. Analyzing data on a regular basis enabled the brand to assess where their audience is communicating, get true insights from children, and inform where they interact with their consumers as ‘’there isn’t one linear path of engagement.’’ Understanding your audience is a vital step for any marketer looking to connect and engage with followers or consumers.

Purposeful communication has been a hugely important aspect of Mattel’s marketing strategy and its use of social channels to highlight wide-ranging societal conversations is significant. Positioning Barbie as a YouTube influencer (she currently has 14million subscribers) has allowed the brand to cover vital topics such as racism and mental health in ways that make sense to its younger audience.

‘’Connecting to culture and going where our consumers go’’ is integral to Mattel’s social strategy says McKnight. Using the digital space and tools such as Facebook Live to connect young girls to a variety of role models has been a winning move. The toy brands ‘test, learn and evolve’ strategy also ensures they are aware of current trends and are constantly assessing what works for them – something that should be at the forefront of all social media managers' plans.

In keeping with the retail theme, the second session I found particularly useful as a social media manager was Deft's ‘secrets of social commerce’ presentation.

With many brands closing their physical stores in the past year, the world of social commerce has opened up, and the new age of consumerism is here. According to Deft, 70% of social media users look at an image on average for around 1 second, so as a marketer how can you use this information?

In short, be upfront about your branding on social ads, have an obvious call-to-action, continuously produce fresh assets, and always keep mobile in mind. It’s worth noting that social networks are there to help people discover new products, therefore it’s important to have clear brand information, and conceptual creatives to harness the selling power of the product.

Working in social media means you need to be aware of what’s going on in your industry - benchmarking your brand against its peers and competitors is extremely beneficial. Technological advances on platforms like Snapchat or TikTok mean that consumers can try on apparel with the help of AR, or buy directly from an influencer during a live stream. Social commerce is changing rapidly, and social media managers should embrace it aggressively in order to stand out.

You can watch all of The Drum’s Digital Transformation Festival on-demand now. Want to join in the conversation on Twitter? Use the hashtag #DTFest21.