Yesterday I took a trip to Internet World at Earl’s Court in London. It’s a leading digital marketing and social media event with hundreds of companies exhibiting their latest products and software solutions. Thousands of visitors attend the 3 day event to learn about the latest developments in social media strategy, ecommerce, online marketing, content management and analytics, amongst many others.There were some speakers from the big names in the industry such as Google, Facebook, Ogilvy and E-bay but you had to pay to attend most of those.
I chose to go for the cheap route and queue up for the free seminars that were available in the different seminar theatres. The main ones I was interested in was ‘The Future of Social Media‘, ‘Digital & Mobile Marketing‘ and ‘Content Management‘. There were a wide range of topics and sometimes it was difficult to chose which ones to go to. However, the fact that you had to queue for about 20 minutes to get into every seminar meant that the day passed pretty quickly without being able to attend as many sessions as I would have liked.
Key points from seminar events:
- Paul Sutton from Bottle PR discussed the misalignment of social metrics and business metrics. Social media is not only about statistics but about human behaviour. We have to understand buyer psychology in order to influence them at the consideration phase in the buying cycle. Social media is word of mouth on a large scale which makes it difficult to measure. Focus on raising brand awareness (through recommendations, increased online visibility & being a useful resource in your industry) because traffic to branded websites (official manufacturers, company websites) is declining by about 24%. Visitors are going to blogs and review websites for information on products.
- James Murray from Experian Hitwise talked about the need to segment audiences in order to effectively target them with relevant messages. It is no longer sufficient to send mass marketing messages to people and companies who are not interested in your product or service. In this digital age you have to send the right message, to the right people at the right time. Measure your quality traffic and identify gaps in the market.
- The developer team from Facebook gave some interesting insight into the new improvements happening on the platform including how to customise and personalise brand landing pages. Their new ‘send’ button has been released allowing users to send (instead of just ‘like’) specific articles and share them with selected friends online. The like button has created engaged traffic for many brands as we discussed in our previous blog post – does social sharing have an influence on search results? If a post has a high number of likes, are you more likely to read/click on it because your peers found it useful?
- B2B companies could find value in Moviecom.tv which is a video social network. Yes, you might say we already have YouTube so what is the need for another platform? Well, Gillian O’Neil (the founder) answered this by saying that although Youtube is great and many of her clients do have videos on there, Moviecom.tv is less crowded and has a more specific positioning. It is for business use. Companies can have a branded page with their company videos that can be seen and shared on there as well as posted to other social sites such as Twitter and Facebook. There are some requirements though – videos have to be credible and relevant. If it does not add any business value then it won’t be featured. Include a call to action so that viewers know what brand they are engaging with.
- A speaker from product reviewer site Ciao discussed the way the Internet has changed online commerce and the way products are bought. The Internet is a society, not just an economy. You have to earn people’s attention with relevant, interesting and shareable content. Social commerce is all about Ratings, Reviews, Recommendations & Referrals.
- The final seminar I attended was about marketing integration and tying all communication channels together. Social should not sit in a silo, it is part of the whole marketing mix. The most important ingredient for an effective marketing plan is DATA. What are you doing with all the data you are getting everyday from the various customer touchpoints? Mining this data to find insight is vital for planning your strategy. Email marketing is still the preferred communication method for B2B marketers but the power of integrating email with social media is huge. Design your email templates with online shareability functions so that your message can be spread on social networks. But be timely, relevant and deliver valuable content. Technology is built from the bottom up, so listen to your online audience so that you can serve them better.
Overall, the event had a great atmosphere and I would gladly go again. Next time I will come prepared with more comfortable shoes, as all that queueing can be very exhausting! If you attended the event, what were your thoughts about it?
Even though this was not a construction focused event, the main points are still relevant. Social media exists whether you are on it or not. If your customers are talking about you online, are you there to listen and respond? If not, this is a wasted opportunity and one that could cost you in the future. Yes your boss might want instant results and figures but working out ROI for social media is not that simple. It takes a lot of time and effort and changes will not appear over night. Intergrate it into your exisiting marketing mix, don’t let it sit on the fence. It’s not a separate activity. Have you received some positive feedback or recommendations through online activity? Are you supplying your network with useful information (through a blog or sharing links) and thereby demonstrating your expertise? Quality traffic can be generated through social media and by finding the right audience, your messages can be specific and targeted to their needs. All these activities will increase brand awareness and online visibility.
As the speaker from Facebook said: “Social changes everything!”