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19/03/2010 by

Social Media World Forum – Part I

This week SocialMedia8, our sister agency, was proud sponsor of the Social Media World Forum in London. Igor Beuker spoke one of the panels and the below conference report has been brought to you by resident Daan Jansonius and guest bloggers Anna Svensson and Reda Haq.

During the two days a lot of issues were covered, so we have devided our coverage into 3 parts – so make sure you check back for part II and III!

Social Media World Forum – Day 1

Monday the 15th and Tuesday the 16th saw one of the largest social media related conferences in Europe being held at the Olympia Conference hall in London.

The day was hosted by journalist-turned MC Guy Clapperton, who started off by saying that social media isn’t new. He likened it to the online communities of the mid 90s and even radio phone ins. Whilst I agree with the principal of the argument, there is one big difference – with radio phone ins there was still a gate keeper, in the current space anyone can be a broadcaster.

Opening Keynote: A lens for Social Media – Kevin Eyres

Next up was Kevin Eyres, MD of Linkedin UK. His talk focused on universal truths about human needs and how that tied in with social media facts. He talked about some of the challenges this space is currently facing, such as establishing trust, identity and how to collaborate – challenges Linkedin is obviously looking to overcome

He finished off with saying that business need to look beyond the question ‘what can social media do for my business?’ and look at how their business can embrace social. Good advice indeed.

We demand a cohesive Social Media strategy – You will comply!Katy Howell

He was followed on stage by Katy Howell, MD at Immediate Future – who told the audience brands need to look beyond the platform. Firstly, there are hidden costs – lack of control, platforms can die out or change the rules of the game and you don’t control the data. But her second point was more important, it’s not about any one platform it is about the people. Always has been, always will be.

Her presentation had a strong PR element and focused on the importance of building relationships with influencers.  One statement particularly stood out “Don’t friend everyone, focus on the influencers”. True if you are looking to get your story out there, but possibly not the best way to build relationships with your most loyal fans.

Next she discussed the hot topic of ROI – focusing on three pillars:

  • Saving
  • Consideration
  • Sales – social media is not particularly strong at driving sales according to Howell.

Lastly she gave advice to brands looking to prepare their company to enter this space – make sure there is an internal evangelist, get buy-in from top level management and avoid a silo approach.

Facebook Platform and Future Strategic Directions at Facebook –  Trevor Johnson

Katy was followed by Trever Johnson, head of Planning at Facebook EMEA. He started off with a funny anecdote of a real life farmer playing Farmville on Facebook – he must really love farming!

The interesting aspect from this talk was that Trevor highlighted some smaller brands who are using Facebook in an interesting way, like his local coffee shop tweeting out its updated menu every weekend. Lack of budget can often inspire great creativity, as Facebook is witnessing. As Trevor put it “it’s not all about massive brands and large amounts of followers/fans, it’s about adding value through experiences” – Amen!

His talk followed on a similar pattern from Kevin in that the web is moving from anonymity to people opening up and bringing their identity online – including their ‘social graph’. And mapping this social graph is really Facebook’s core product according to Trevor – Facebook is only a platform, but it allows others to share, interact and collaborate.

He finished his talk with 4 tips:

  • Make it social
  • Keep it simple
  • Don’t think in campaigns & silos
  • Think differently

Panel Discussion – The changing role of Social Networking as an influencer of worldwide media

We covered this panel in a previous post which you can find here

In part II we will find out what brands such as Mars and Mercedes Benz are doing in social media – so stay tuned!


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