At the start of June, Kerry hopped onto a train for the Social Media Week in Bristol – a full 5 days of events, talks, workshops and seminars all based around our favourite topic – social media. We think it’s super important to go to events like this – not only for the amazing networking opportunities, but also for making sure we’re ahead of the curve, and confident of our knowledge for our clients. Let’s chat a bit about what events Kerry attended…

Gamification

A new term learned in the very first talk I attended – although the concept wasn’t new to me, I just hadn’t realised it was necessarily a “thing”. This was a great talk exploring why games can be used in marketing, and how. Playing games is a very historic activity – we’ve got evidence of Romans and Greeks playing games, and those being quite sophisticated too. So it was only going to be a matter of time before someone used games in marketing – this was Cracker Jacks back in the 1920s! Gamification then, isn’t a new thing at all.

So what sort of games do we see around when it comes to marketing? I think, on reflection, I’m so used to seeing games in marketing that it had never occured to me that it was a marketing ploy. Which is great, lesson one learned in talk number one. So we’ve got games like spin the wheel, scratch cards, polls, quizzes, jigsaw – and loads more. What gamification really boils down to is making sure that the game doesn’t start with game elements but with what the user needs. This will vary on the type of user you’re trying to approach and target.

Blogging

As part of the Social Media Summit, we had a fantastic talk about blogging from Bex Band (check out her blog here). I’ve been keen to push the importance of blogging for a while, and came away with lots of great information from this talk.

The first thing to understand when blogging is that it represents who you are, what you stand for and what you offer. So make those clear and you’ll find it all a lot easier.

Once you’ve got those penned down, you need to think of a concept for your blog, and the content. Make your concept clear – the clearer it is, the easier it can grow. Bex had a great tip in the types of blogs she uses, which are a) advice blogs, b) personal style blogs and c) opinion blogs. So whenever you think of a new title or content to share, does it fit into a category you want to use on your blogs? Looking over at Gwe Cambrian Web (our sister company), we tend to use advice blogs and latest news blogs as our main core styles.

Remember to think about SEO when you blog, and also that traffic wise, a blog will last far longer than social media. So in terms of spending time working on the content, tweaking and optimising, then yes, it’s worth it.

Instagram

Instagram may have been around a while, but it’s really beginning to be a big contender for businesses on social media. Did you know that it has 1 billion active users a month? And in the UK alone, 15000 images are uploaded PER SECOND.

Two key sentences here on my notes:

“Visuals are the universal language”

“Instagram inspires action – Facebook inspires conversation”.

When it comes to Instagram, have we forgotten what it’s real purpose was when it was created? To become a beautiful, image based platform. As we all struggle to get on there as quickly as possible, many profiles (my personal one included) just throw up images with a filter, creating a haphazard Insta for everyone else. Forget the follower count, and concentrate and creating meaningful connections, with beautiful content. And I am serious about the followers – Keri T recently posted about Instagram testing a new feature in Canada, where the platform won’t show you how many likes a post has got. It’s moving away from vanity metrics, back to its real purpose.

This is relevant across all platforms and marketing as a whole, and something I’ve mentioned more than once for sure – diversify your content, because sell sell sell does not work. It. Does. Not. Work. So, bring personality into your profiles, show your audience what you’re upto on a daily basis and mention your services every now and again.

If you’re a shop – it is HIGHLY likely that you will soon be able to sell items on Instagram, so prepare yourselves for that change!

It’s all about Stories

This was a hot topic across the week – not just Instagram stories, but Facebook stories too. Did you know, that 300 million Insta stories are opened and watched every single day? There’s a massive trend towards opening stories before even bothering to scroll down a timeline (if we do at all). So,if you have a business on social media, this is where you need to start focussing some effort.

Social Media Top Tips

I always like going to events that are really in my field – it’s just a good way to make sure that I’m on top of the game, and not missing anything glaring. So the big top tips that came out from this conference were:

  • You MUST grab attention to get attention – imagine how full the timelines are everywhere, Facebook, Twitter, Insta – we’re all posting ALL OF THE TIME. So grab the attention by being sexy (and beautiful – think Insta), funny and disgusting (not literally…).
  • Be relatable (use current affairs, emojis), use moving imagery and videos and be interactive. Static is dull dull dull.
  • Brand tone of voice is super important, and often overlooked.
  • Remember to engage! It isn’t about just pushing your message out and keeping your eyes closed, you must engage with your followers. Think about your persona (as a business) and the platform you’re on, what do you followers care about? What do you want them to feel? What do you want them to do? In a funky nutsell (credit here to Noisy Little Monkey) – CATER TO YOUR NERDS.
  • Cause conflict – we all remember THAT dress don’t we? Blue and black or white and gold? Cause conflict by using gamification techniques to really ramp up your engagement and reach.
  • Always remember that a clear call to action will get results – don’t splatter it everywhere, but also, don’t forget about it.
  • Analytics – use these! We always create reports for our clients on a monthly basis, but so many businesses out there are ploughing time, energy and money into social media and have no idea what’s working and what isn’t. Take time to go through your analytics and check what’s working well, and what isn’t (so you can stop bothering with that!).
  • There are no hard and fast rules – things change all of the time, so make time to explore and test new features (or new platforms). Don’t get frustrated if you can’t figure something out, or can’t find the answer on Google – just learn.
  • Always have a back up – something I’d not considered in a social media sense. So if you plough all of your time and rely on one platform, what happens if it died? Or got pulled? What would happen to your business, if overnight Etsy went down, or Instagram was scrapped in a major overhaul? Always have a back up AND always back up content you upload straight onto the app.

 

I came away with a lot more than just in this blog post, but some of it I have to keep to myself :p

Same time, same place next year SMW Bristol? Thanks for an amazing event!

 

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