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August 17, 2011

Sociality (Leeds Digital Festival) 17/08/11

Leeds Digital Festival, 2011 have been organising a series of events with digital focus. I attended the first one in July which was dedicated to SEO (AweSEOme). Being a lover of communication, I have been looking forward to this month's panel on Social Media.

Sociality brought together social media experts across Leeds. A lot of basic to moderate level social media issues were discussed which meant people new to social media had a lot to gain from it. Days like these justify my plan to buy an iPad but having my iPod handy was good. I managed to pick up some key pointers that not only re-established what my amazing team have already taught me but I was introduced to some new tools. 

  • Time frame: Don't be impulsive in making a decision about whether/which social media channel is working for you. Give it a period of at-least 3 months before you go ahead and start making decisions on what your next step should be. Social media campaigns take a while to pick up.
  • Social media momentum: As I mentioned in my previous blog post, social media momentum is the thing you must concentrate on. Traditional media campaigns stick around for approximately 2 months but when it comes to social media, you cannot introduce a campaign and then forget all about your social network. In between campaigns, it is important to concentrate on daily engagement with the audience.
  • Locate your audience: There is no bigger error than wasting your resources targeting a wrong platform. Understanding how your audience behaves and relates to your product is important in making a decision about which platform to choose. 
  • Content flexibility: Some companies struggle when it comes to gaining fans or followers because in simple words, some products are boring! The truth is that people on social networks want to be associated with cooler products, for example, no one wants to like a wood flooring company on Facebook! What will the audience gain from liking your page? People are looking for entertainment and interaction. This does not mean you can't have presence on these networks, it only means you have to get more flexible with your content and get creative. A brilliant example for the brand Cupinol was given. Their Facebook page runs competitions with gifts to give away and generally appears very interactive for a company that is into garden wood care!
  • Content originality: Realistic and original content lets people know that you are an honest company that is serious about what it has to say. This is a brilliant point because as audience, we want to see something that is original and not ripped off from some other website. Posting photos and videos are a great way to establish your uniqueness.
  • Concentrate on smaller campaigns: As I mentioned in my previous post regarding application of Kaizen to social media, a brilliant point of concentrating on smaller goals was brought up. Instead of focusing on the bigger picture, it is important to have smaller realistic social media goals. Always have a plan of how and what you want to achieve with your campaigns and build KPI's accordingly.
  • Keep personal and professional separate: Don't have personal rants on your professional page. People handling social media can sometimes get carried away while discussing some issue and start stating their opinions on the business page, which will look bad for the business! Apparently there have been many instances when this has happened. Always keep personal and professional separate.
  • Non-english speaking global markets: This was my questions, I am interested in learning about global social media strategies and asked the panel what they think is a good strategy to reach an international audience. For example: China, where people don't have access to Facebook or Twitter and English isn't spoken widely. People from the panel who answered my question all agreed that it is essential to have a native speaker on your team. It is definitely difficult to reach an international audience like China but it isn't impossible. Based on which social media channels are being used in individual countries, you can focus on the same strategy but use other channels. I feel I need to research more and address this issue in a new blog post. 
I think I did miss out on some stuff! At one point a lovely-elderly gentleman had a question about what content to post on Twitter. I love seeing the older generation interested in technology! Someone on the panel mentioned that it is best to only mention your brand 1 out of 10 times. The rest 9 times try to talk about something else your audience is interested in, build relationships. Social media is all about engagement not hard sell.

Another key point mentioned was that social media can't be 9-5 job, it is more than that. Once you show up on any social network, it becomes another outlet for client services which means you will get asked questions on a weekend or after 5 pm. You have to be quick to respond which means multiple people need access to your profiles. 

Something I've never heard of before is WildfireApp. It is a campaign management tool and I need to read into it. 

Leeds Digital Festival seems to be shaping up quite nicely. My workmate @amandakou is organising a cool digital event for the festival. Follow her for more information. Too bad I won't be in Leeds then but I hope this trend starts catching up!

Click for more information about the panel and to follow them on Twitter.

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