7th Feb, at the SSE Swalec Stadium with a fully packed house of marketers and a fantastic list of speakers, CIM Wales was at it again, organising the second in a series of Marketing Masterclasses. This time the topic of discussion and learning was Social Media.

The day turned out to give us so many learnings that it’s hard to encapsulate all of it in one blog post, so I only aim to distil the main takeaways. The overarching theme which came up in every presentation was ‘Know and understanding your audience’ and not categorising them in generic classifications like ‘Teachers’, ‘Firefighters’ etc. but getting to know them in depth.

The much talked about but little used and understood fact about the importance of ‘Emotion’ was also one of the main takeaways. Social Media is all about Emotion and Engagement.

Below are the main highlights from different speakers

Think big Picture, Social Media should not be an isolated tactic and an afterthought, it needs to have a strategy and a sound plan

Helen Wild from Cardiff-based creative communications agency, Equinox, was first on stage and reminded us that Social Media needs to be at the forefront of our thinking and the best social brands have clear vision and strategy. They have aspirational content and their content is based on generating emotion and meaningful interactions. One key part of Helen’s speech was around knowing your audience and dividing audiences into sub-audiences to understand them better. Helen’s advice was to use social channels to tap into people’s emotions. Helen also went through Facebook’s latest algorithm updates which revolve around ‘Family and friends taking priority’, ‘Less public content’ and ‘Meaningful interactions’. She clearly presented the dos and don’ts in the new Facebook world. Her presentation also gave the audience some great useful insight and analytics tools which they could use. 

It’s not about Twitter, stupid

Paul Rowland from WalesOnline was up next and threw us all (certainly me) into a huge surprise when he said Twitter did not drive significant clicks to the WalesOnline web page and was way behind Google, Facebook. He mentioned that Twitter was used for breaking news, it was not used in the journalistic circles to drive traffic. Paul touched on the importance of frequency, timing and emotional content to drive traffic. The importance of content and how it needs to be personal. One of Paul’s key points with regards to content was that it should be useful, relevant, timely, people should identify with it and it should draw a strong emotional reaction. Like Helen, Paul also emphasised on the use of data and insight to know you audience and mentioned data as every social editor’s best friend. His talk also suggested useful analytics tools like Buzzsumo and lots of WalesOnline Case Studies.

Go for Influencers with a really engaged audience

Next up was Laura Crimmons from SEO agency Branded3 whose main focus was on Influencer marketing. Like other speakers, Laura also highlighted the importance of ‘Knowing and finding your audience’ and what sort of influencers they will associate themselves with. Her practical tip was not to invest too much effort into it yourself but rather speak with your paid media teams as they already have a lot of great insight about the audience. Laura gave the audience a good summary of Facebook Insights and its use to determine the key characteristics of the audience. She also mentioned useful tools like Crimson Hexagon, Media IQ and Buzzsumo and how they could help understand about the audience interests. In terms of influencers, Laura cautioned the audience to do the due diligence to determine if the influencer had a genuine following. She also suggested not to control the content too much as the Influencers knew their audience best and rounded up her talk by suggesting to go for influencers with a really engaged audience and presented a few case studies to this point. Laura’s presentation can be found here. 

It’s about Engagement

The audiences came alight with the jovial and engaging nature of Prab Chadha who is the MD of Digital Maverick Ltd. Prab’s talk included practical tips on how to use Twitter and Linkedin. Like other speakers, the core theme of his presentation was around ‘Engagement’ and said that Social Media is an emotional journey. Prab stressed the power and importance of Twitter search and how best to use it. He also had lots of tips on what to tweet, e.g. share something human and tweet enticements ‘coming soon’ etc. In terms of increasing engagement, Prab shared a list of tips including the good use of visuals and emojis. Like Helen, Prab also emphasised on having a Social Media plan but stressed that the plan needs to be very simple on determining ‘What’, ‘Who’, ‘Where’, ‘Now’. Prab also went to give practical tips on what he called the ‘Anatomy of a perfect Tweet’.

It’s not about who you are but what you can do to help improve businesses

Prab’s practical tips session on Twitter was followed by that on LinkedIn starting with tips on how to get your LinkedIn profile correct. One think that really stuck out to me was Prab’s advice on rather than promoting your credentials and titles, we need to directly answer how our skills can help employers. Prab also emphasised the importance of the summary section on LinkedIn. His idea of thought leadership was an intersection of creating or curating content, building community and having relevant engaging conversations on social platforms. Prab also presented a LinkedIn Lead Generation Action Plan.

Video needs to have a purpose

Lloyd Morgan, the Managing Director of video production agency Rockadove was next on stage to talk about the importance of video and incorporating it in the social media strategy. Like, all the other speakers, Lloyd mentioned about having a Video strategy and not having video as an afterthought. Lloyd’s key suggestion was for video to have a purpose and for bands to be really clear on what purpose does video serve for them. While Lloyd mentioned that there was nothing different between a video and social video, he did give useful tips on what to consider while developing a social video. Some of tips included, considering the duration of the video, always be clear on the main hook, considering the video content if the audience is watching it on mute. Lloyd also mentioned the use of videos in Vlogs, Case Studies, Testimonials, FAQs, Adverts, Product Videos and Animation. The eye-opening stat he mentioned was that a recent survey of young people suggested 74% wanted to be bloggers and 26% had this as their first choice. Scary to think where the world is going but good for video and social media companies. Lloyd’s deck can be found here. 

So, the key theme from all speakers centred on the heart of marketing, understanding your audience and engaging them on social platforms, through influencers and through videos.