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4 (ish) Takeaways From #theartofsocial 2019

Today I attended The Art of Social, a dedicated event for social marketers to make the most of their online activity. They said it best themselves, that

"To be on social media is easy, To excel is an art".

So, the day was framed around equipping everyone there with the paints, brushes and easels (too far?) to excel on social media.

1. Make an Impact

The day was kicked off with Brandwatch CMO Will McInnes talking about how we’re livestreaming war and that we’re on the cusp of a future where technology is ever more immersed in our lives. He spoke about how we’ve moved from a period of ‘Digital Transformation’ to today when the honeymoon, or transformational, period is over which means it’s now time to see ‘digital impact’ instead.

That’s never been emphasised more than in the shortened attention spans of our audience on social media. With any form of content, your message has to be clear, from the start, otherwise your audience will just keep on scrolling…

2. People like people 

This is something I say a lot at Charlton Morris – that in a world of robotic recruiters, it’s the human voice that really cuts through the noise and appeals to an audience. So it was great to hear that reinforced today!

The topic was touched on by a few people, but in a particularly interesting way by Hootsuite’s Adrian Cockle. He talked about how stories are dominating social media today (stories are set to overtake the news feed format soon) and how institutions like The Guardian had seen a lot better results from their stories by going lo-fi and being much less polished.

Turns out people really do like people!

3. Shut up and listen

One of the main sponsors of today’s event was social listening tool Brandwatch, so it perhaps wasn’t a surprise that a big theme of the day was social listening. This is something that is clearly a huge factor for a lot of consumer brands and the insights this tech provides is going to be one of the big evolutions in social media in the next few years.

My takeaway from this topic was how important it is to listen to your audience when thinking about what to create next. This was backed up by Alex McNab-Lundbäck, Head of Social Media at Maersk, who asked us to think like our audience, not like marketers, to create authentic content. With work, this approach will lead to building a loyal audience and community. Although we might struggle to gain the ‘superfans’ Maersk have managed to accumulate!

3.5. Don’t live in a box

This is sort of an extension of the last point, which is why it only deserves a half.

I didn’t head into today living in a box. Or even thinking that this would be a good idea. But, I have been guilty in the past of ignoring some of point #3 and just creating content for the sake of creating content, instead of listening to what our audience want.

So I left today, firmly box-less.

4. Use video, intelligently 

Lastly, it couldn’t have been a day on social media without mentioning video. I attended a great session led by Jennifer Montague who talked a lot about the insights that can be gained by video. We often hear about the impressions and other vanity metrics that video can boost but this session really made me think twice about the real business objectives video can help you achieve.

If the stats are right and 68% of consumers really do prefer video and users of Facebook are 12 x more likely to share videos than text content, then everyone needs to be using video but using it well and intelligently.

It was a great event and a real eye opener. A massive thanks to all the speakers and to Infomedia for putting on the event. I’m looking forward to putting these tips, and a load of other things I picked up into practice for the rest of the year.

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