Yesterday we attended Social Media Marketing 2012, which promised to take a more critical look at social media marketing by focusing on the realities, challenges and what we need to do better, not just the positive stories and back-slapping habits that have become the staple of social conferences.

I have summarised six of the presentations from the day’s discussion,but you can see the full programme here.

1. First up was Mat Morrison, head of social media, Starcom MediaVest Group, who told us: nearly Everything you thought you knew about Facebook is wrong.

Mat kicked off by making some very pertinent points about Facebook marketing, including: “It’s all about the newsfeed not the page.” And confirming that asking people to click the `button’ on the left or above, which is a common instruction when encouraging participation, is fine on the page, but doesn’t work in the newsfeed.

In other words, when you are talking to customers, don’t assume they are on your Facebook page, they are probably seeing it in their feeds.

He also reminded the crowd that Facebook apps can be difficult to use on mobile, and with such significant traffic coming mobile users, the potential wastage is significant. Therefore, always think

When he asked if everyone knew what Edgerank is, only one soul was brave enough to say no, to which Mat nailed the explanation with: “Facebook Edgerank is a gnome that decides what stories you see.

Mat proceeded to take us through a few examples of brand engagement with Cineworld and ASOS, who make mistakes early and fix fast, and are a great example of a consumer Facebook page. You can see these in his presentation (see title of his presentation in this post)

Mat asked us to remember:

1. A page isn’t a destination
2. It’s all about the newsfeed
3. A Page isn’t a community
4. Almost no one sees Fan posts
5. Think mobile first

2. We then moved onto our second presentation from Ruth Coates, marketing programme manager – Europe – Staples and Katy Howell, MD, Immediate Future, who gave us an insight into Social strategy in practise: How to meet the challenges of adopting a Social approach

Katy Howell made a good point in relation to strategy to kick-off, focused on where to start in social. She confirmed it’s not just about `listening’, it’s about understanding the organisational opportunity for social media.

This means an internal as well as external audit is important, looking at how the organisation uses and wants to work with social, and how social impacts many different elements.

She also suggested that an audit should look at 2-3 years of data, not just 2-3 months, which will not account for seasonal or event-based variations.

Ruth Coates from Staples identified the main internal challenges that she had experienced in relation to developing a social media strategy:

1 Change management & selling the concept

2. Business value: making social ROI-able, i.e. what does social mean to the organisation, not just metrics, but how does social impact organisational value?

3. Harnessing resource in a decentralised organisation, which was amplified by Staples’ huge challenges with multiple territories, multiple offices, multiple languages.

Katy then identified the four steps in establishing that there are enough conversations around the issues related to the brand to justify a social campaign:

1. Shouting out and asking questions – what are these conversations about? Are they just mentions or is there depth, are there questions? Understand this first, then roadmap.

2. Who is talking? Not just who has influence? But who are these people connected to, what are the communities?

3. Diving into the detail – how are they talking?

4. Social media is leaky – social now impacts what goes instore, online, direct mail, photos on Pinterest etc.

Katy summarised this by confirming that social media is data and spreadsheets, and that you need statistically-relevant samples, which confirm the tones of discussions, impressions and ideas, passion, points what are they saying, associations, what specifics are they looking for, behavioural trends.

You then need to create taxonomies to identify correlation and trends.

Strategy is a lot of heavy lifting on the data if you want to get to the goal of adding value to the business.

Once the strategy was ready to roll out, Staples then identified recommendations to move forward:

1. Pilots to validate – Set timeframes, set outcomes, lower investment to see how it works.

2. Phase your approach – in this case a multi-year phased approach, looking at this over time to develop at the pace of your business so that it can integrate with business communications and existing focuses.

3. Tiered implementation – don’t force people to get involved. Pick out pockets where there is eagerness and resource, and demonstrate learnings to the wider business to enable overall internal sell in.

Internal structure
1. Structure the programme and measurement – set up forums to discuss social on a monthly basis internally with teams, best practises, ideas, development.

2. Intensive training framework – ongoing training across the business to continually move forward.

3. Set out the polices and escalation – from guidelines to appearance of profiles and how to react to crisis.


– Cross functional groups – don’t miss out on ideas and opportunities for the business.

– Great communications – communicate the results of social and let people know how the social focuses are going.

– Ideas forum – cross-team and territories to develop ideas.

Since beginning the new social strategy in February 2012, Staples’ EU presence has grown by:
• 9 x FB profiles
• 5 x Twitter profiles
• 7 x G+ profiles
• 6 x YouTube channels

Staples closing comment: “It’s not about building 8 million fans, we would rather have 100,000 fans that deliver value”

3. The next session that I covered was on The Olympics: Big data meets Big event, presents Big challenges by Naomi Trickey, Sales Director for EMEA, Brandwatch

Naomi gave us an overview of data from recent events and news issues, e.g. U.S presidential election, superbowl, etc and confirmed that big data presents big challenges.

She also asked the question; What is Big Data? Suggesting size is not the only thing that matters, it’s also variety, volume and velocity.

She backed this up with a quote from Scott Thomson, head of research, Hypernaked: “Reality is easily accessible data, but you have to frame the right questions”

Naomi confirmed that Big = Relevant and data needs to be relevant. She also confirmed that greater social buzz does not result from a higher advertising spend, a recent example of which has been advertising around the Superbowl.

4. Jeremy Waite, Head of social strategy Adobe EMEA
What’s the Real Value of 1 million Fans?

Jeremy, who is always entertaining and informative in equal measure kicked off with a great quote on social media from Scott Stratten “Social media doesn’t fix anything. It just amplifies things. If your restaurant sucks, it just sucks harder in social media. IT doesn’t make your chicken fingers taste better or your beer taste bolder. social media is not a good place to go if you’re terrible at what you do.”

He also gave us an excellent example of useful content in the form of the recent 007 Skyfall ticket give away video by Coke Zero.

Jeremy suggested that Coke understand it’s all about content and achieved 4 million views in 4 days, probably with a hefty seeding budget.

Jeremy then moved onto the focus of his presentation, which was ROI, quoting both:

Forrester “90% of content marketers only track engagement metrics”


Michael Lebowitz, CEO of Skittles’ ad agency “Anyone who says they can track Facebook activity to sales is in a bubble and living on a spaceship.”

To make his point about the mismatch between traditional ROI and social metrics.

Traditionally the metrics that marketers have used to put a value on a relationship, (that don’t work):
– Fans, followers, subscribers
– Impressions and reach
– Change in sentiment
– Click through rates
– Share of voice
– Engagement
– Dwell time

Jeremy also used a trailer for the movie Money ball to illustrate the importance of ROI.

In brief, Moneyball is a film about the Oakland Athletics’ baseball team that followed a revolutionary way of buying a winning baseball team, with a tight budget, based on player analytics and a supporting algorythm

Jeremy confirmed this is basically a film about ROI

“This is getting everything down to one number. Using stats the way we read them, we will find value in things that nobody else can do.”

He made the point that we can compete in social with those on bigger budgets.

So what is ROI? Jeremy confirmed ROI in social media is the same as ROI in any other area of business.

“How much do I spend, how much do I make, what’s the difference?”

Jeremy confirmed we shouldn’t confuse social media measurement with ROI, the two are separate.

He recommended Olivier Blanchard‘s book: Social media ROI and ran us through an example of ROI on an Angry birds campaign.

5. Michael Litman, senior social strategist, AnalogFolk gave a great presentation on
Pinterest, what is it and why should you care?

He offered some great statistics, including 51% of interbrand top 100 have presence on it and Pinterest is growing, while Twitter, and other network growth is slowing.

He also highlighted that the usage of Pinterest differs from the UK to U.S, e.g
– U.S 83% female
– UK 56% male
– UK interest sectors – Venture capital, PR, content management
– U.S sectors – retail, creative
– 30% of UK users in the highest income bracket vs 5% in US
– Age group of users is mostly 25-44

– Pinterest first social network to reach 10m unique users
– Pinterest is in fact a power channel to build a strong social brand.
– Pinterest is taking traffic away from ‘traditional’ engines and delivering to retailers

6. Squeezing the social SEO value out of your social media campaign
Kelvin Newman, Strategy Director, SiteVisibility

You can see Kelvin’s full presentation here

In summary:

Google is trying to do something that we can all do instinctively – i.e. identify that this website is better than that website.

Google believes the way it is going to improve its algorithm is to understand the social web.

This is the future of what Kelvin referred to as off-site SEO, focusing on three key areas of Author rank, links and social shares.

He believes that G+ is essentially a tool to answer these focuses as it helps Google to find your content quicker and gave us a number of practical implementation points to make the most of Google+, which you can see on the presentation and include:

– Use chrome plugin – share to schedule updates

– Add Google+ sharing buttons to your website

– Use opengraph protocol

– Use Rel author mark up

Overall he suggested we Ignore the haters, because although Google+ isn’t as popular as other networks,  it is hugely relevant to your Google ranking and that is essential.

He believes Google+ is here to stay, will only become more important and is having a bigger influence than most of us realise.

Kelvin also believes that search marketers make good marketers because people that understand search, understand people, which makes them great marketers.

Social Media marketing 2012 was a great success, and everyone that we spoke to thought it had delivered on the objective of taking a harder look at social, so congratulations to the Our Social Times team.