Los Angeles was one of the lucky cities to host the Social Media Week, and I am blessed to live here. While presentations, panels, and parties happened all over the city during the week, most of the events were concentrated in The Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills and Ogilvy & Mather in Culver City.
Even being a free event, they provided a great experience for the audience. The registration system, food, drinks, venues, gifts, great speakers, sponsors… everything was well organized. The star of the event was Twitter, with all the updates of every session, with different hashtags for each location. The best communication channel before, after, and during each event (yes, questions were asked through Twitter and appeared on the blackboard on the stage).
The sessions I had the chance to participate were a good amount:
- The Mobile Marketing Revolution – Gimmick or Here to Stay?
- Social Engagement Advertising
- When Integrated Marketing Met Social: Love at First Like
- Got Fans? Engage them deeply and frequently with social storytelling
- Branding your Social Enterprise with Integrity in Social Media
- Using Social Media to Rediscover and Reinvent your brand.
One of the most interesting sessions was The Mobile Marketing Revolution. Mobile is the future of Social Media, and speakers Adam Mirabella from Nokia, Dirk Shaw from Ogilvy, Gary Schwartz (Impact Mobile), Mikey Lee (Aurasma) and Rob Reed (Moment Feed) brought important contents and insights about this market. QR Code is a hot topic, and it was one of the subjects. But the main question about it was quite simply: are QR codes useful or useless? And the conclusion wans’t so positive: useless. Why? Because it’s important to have a personal message, and most of the QR codes go to videos or ads, with no targeted content.
Even the screen came to the conversation, being considered the new determining factor for choosing a mobile phone. As the mobile marketing is all about technology and applications, the top trends for the 2012/2013 are NFC (Near Field Communication) and AR (Augmented Reality) . NFC allow simplified transactions, data exchange and wireless connections between two devices. The main issues are related to security and payment. Rob Reed smartly defined NFC as “a solution looking for a problem”. AR is a direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment, with interactive 3D imagery added on (here a good example of AR) and will bring better and more realistic interaction in the mobile world.
The second most valuable session was When integrated marketing met social: Love at first Like, where we could hear Mark Wallrapp from Facebook, and Charlie Lee and Kevin Furlong from the online marketing service provider Experian. They talked about some trends regarding how brands interact with people in the Facebook world, and how important are all these changes in the experience for companies’ results. Facebook is still growing and booming, and moving extremely fast: talking about FB, a panelist at the conference ironically referred to 2010 as “10 years ago”. And he wasn’t so wrong: the interactions on the social network doubled from June 2010 to January 2011. Facebook and Experian work together in the real world, that’s why they were able to show us the importance for a brand to be on Facebook , proving that, on average, “1 Facebook Fan is equal to 20 additional visits to a company’s website”.
Besides that they showed us the importance of the friends of friends, and how a company can use their connections to interact with their consumers through e-mail or websites, using the name of friends, testimonials and reviews. After the presentation there was the panel with a Q&A session, and two very interesting questions were asked to Mr. Wallrapp. The first was: How Facebook decide to make changes? This is what everybody wants to know nowadays, why so many changes, and what he said was that is all about user behavior, to find the best way in which each engineer will help people to share more. They still aren’t perfect, and they are finding a way to be so. Facebook knows that every time they make a change they loose a huge number of people for a while… but after two weeks it’s all back to normal!
The second – very cool- question was about the Facebook perception of Google Plus. Besides “joking” that the population of Goggle+ is around 25 million users, most of them male and from the Silicon Valley, Mark said that the company is learning a lot from them, mainly from the sharing system that Google created, where you can decide each group of people you want to share information: he admitted “That is the reason why we created Lists on Facebook.” The new trends on Facebook were presented on the F8 conference, and Mark claimed that the most important changes will be things related to music consumption and the possibility to watch TV, in a much aggressive way. We will see. Once more, the challenge for brands is to change and understand again how to interact and share stuff with consumers.
The main takeaways from the Social Media Week are: content as the important guy that drives conversations, that’s why it’s important to listen the consumer to understand what content they want to share. Brands have to be careful about overload and repetition (they should bring just the subject that is valuable for the customer, showing that the company understands their needs). The value of Brand Ambassadors, as they are the influencers of the brand. The integration: bringing all channels together as a unique system, including Social Media. And, of course, that’s all about engagement, engagement and engagement.
Now we just need to wait for the next Social Media Week, in which we will probably see a completely different picture of the Social Media Marketing. Because there’s one more thing I’ve learnt from it: changes are almost at the speed of light.
Fernanda Costa Gama