The Spredfast Social Summit Looks Beyond Marketing in 2014

The past 2 days I’ve attended one of my favorite conferences: The Spredfast Social Summit (#SFSummit).  I love it because it’s in my own backyard; I love it because there are marketers from around the world who attend to share ideas and best practices; and  I love it because they always seem to be thinking exactly what I’m thinking about where social needs to go in the coming year.    Here are some of my top takeaways from the conference (and these aren’t just for marketers!  Sales Execs and CIOs take note):

1.   Arianna Huffington is quite the inspirational speaker.  She had many nuggets of wisdom in her keynote, but here are my favorites (which I hope I quoted as accurately as possible!) :SFphoto2

  • “We’ve moved from presentation to participation.”   (It’s now about engaging people, not just showing them content).
  • “Do you want to leave your resume or your eulogy?”  (People want to connect on social with who you are, with what you stand for, with your values.  Just as in real life, treat social as a way to make true human interactions).
  • “Social is the new front page”.  (I think this one is self-explanatory).
  • “Make your product available in as many places as possible.  Don’t make them come to you.”  (Speaking about forcing people to your website rather than meeting them in the socialsphere in which they already live).

2.   If you’re trying to activate brand influencers or advocates, here are some stats & tips for you:

  • 78% of people say they are influenced by brands they follow (Insites Consulting)
  • Influencers need not have a large following; they simply must be able to motivate changes in behavior of other people.
  • The ROI of social is often the byproduct.  When you’re able to leverage your brand in a way that touches the life of someone, they become advocates. And if you have enough advocates, the influencers will notice.
  • If someone is an advocate, their spend with you increases exponentially.  Did you hear that sales teams?  EXPONENTIALLY.
  • Socially engaged customers spend 20-40% more than your other customers. (Bain & Co)

3.   Some notes on social analytics and measurement:

  • Social has moved beyond simply tracking engagement, likes, and clicks.  You now need to understand your customer segments and be able to understand which campaigns are performing and why.
  • There is still a disconnect in attribution of social media.  Often the social team is “giving the assist” to the other teams like SEO, Customer Service, PR, Brand, and Sales, but there is not a trackable way to attribute the lead to social, other than lead forms.  Companies need to understand that customers may come in through social, not submit a form, and come back a week later via a Google Search and complete the form at that time.  Social still drove that lead.
  • All social measurements should start with a goal and your goal should be tied to which part of the funnel you are targeting.  Is your end goal awareness, engagement, customer care, lead generation, or something else?  Base your ROI on the answer to that question.
  • A/B test your social campaigns.  Social is a part of marketing, after all, and you wouldn’t go to market with just one PPC ad or one email subject line, right?  Listen to what the metrics are telling you and leverage them to gain more ROI from each campaign.

4.   B2B Social Media is expanding

  • Companies are using social media to target new employees, find new customers, nurture existing customers, spread brand awareness, find brand advocates, and drive revenue to their pipelines.
  • I know this one is trite, but some people just don’t seem to be getting it.  If you are in sales, you NEED to be using social media to close your deals.  You need to be watching your customers & prospects and watching the buying signals they are giving you over social media.  Use social to build personal relationships with people outside the business.  Use social media to build your own brand that will help you to build those connections with current and potential customers.

5.   The tides are shifting:

  • Budgets are shifting from CTOs to CMOs.
  • Social is becoming integrated into the entire organization and will eventually be integrated into the other IT systems of the company like customer service, HR, PR, and sales.
  • In order to shift behavior and shift budgets, you have to shift purchases.  Prove your social posts are driving revenue and start seeing more of the budget.

6.   Some of the continuing social challenges:

  • Keeping up
  • Turning data into insights
  • Executing social programs
  • Driving social adoption

If you’re having any of the above issues, you may want to check out the Spredfast platform.  They’ve got some great product features already in existence and even more in the works.

7.    Most memorable moments

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Koka Sexton’s now famous turquoise socks (which he received as a gift from a company who was following his tweets indicating that he needed new socks.  He’s now a loyal customer, by the way).

Koka
The sea of orange.  From food to decor to SWAG, the Spredfast orange permeated the conference.

SFphoto4
My new Spredfast cup.  An example of social listening at its best, I tweeted last week that I broke my cherished Spredfast cup that I received last year (and that I use daily) and they had a new one waiting for me when I arrived.

SFphoto

My main takeaway from the conference is that social media is a beast that can no longer be tamed without the appropriate tools or staff to give it the attention it deserves.  It’s not going away so it’s time we embrace it and make it a part of our 2014 business strategies.  Notice I didn’t say “marketing strategies” because it’s moved beyond just marketing.  #EmbraceIt.  #LoveIt.  #ShareIt.  #TweetIt.  #MeasureIt.  And reap the rewards in customer loyalty and the bottom line.

How will you incorporate social media into your 2014 company business strategy?  Tell us in the comments below.

Cari Zoch

Cari Zoch

Marketing Manager, Brand Communications & Social Media at OneSource Information Services
Cari has over 15 years of Marketing Communications experience and has spent the last 3 years focusing on the ever-evolving world of social media. Prior to joining Avention, Cari was the Global Social Media Manager at LifeSize, a Division of Logitech, and built their social media program from the ground up. Cari is an avid Longhorn football fan (yes, even this year!), and enjoys acting, spending time with her daughter, and taking advantage of all the wonderful outdoor activities Austin has to offer.
Cari Zoch
Cari Zoch

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