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21/03/2010 by

Social Media World Forum – Part II

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.

In part II we are looking at what brands such as Mars, and Mercedes Benz are doing in social media. Read on!

What are the most successful ways of monitoring and measuring a Social Media Campaign? – Muhammad Karim

Muhammad Karim, senior brand manager at Mars Confectionary, began the session by exclaiming that we should “forget social media exists, first we need to decide where we’re going”. This was a strong theme of the day with many brands acknowledging that social media must fit into your overall strategy. If it doesn’t fit into your overall strategy then it won’t align with your objectives and can’t be measured.

He referenced Seth Godin who once said, “just because it’s easy to measure, doesn’t mean it’s worth it”. From here Karim referenced various brand monitoring tools, both free and paid for, and highlighted that the free tools are not specific and therefore take more time to use. He recommended that sometimes it’s better to invest in monitoring tools in order to get more useful and acitonable data.

Building community based engagement in your brand – David Henry

Next up was David Henry, VP Digital Marketing Europe at job search site, In order to create and manage successful community, the members need to have a shared purpose or common thread, he advised. It is also imperative that the company or individual acts as a participant and interacts with the community.

David recommended that, as your community grows, you should monitor what people are saying about your brand and understand what the buzz is around your brand.

How do you measure the success of your community? David recognised that you can’t measure success by the amount of members in the community. For a website such as Monster, their audience comes and goes depending on when they have work. As long as there is a steady stream of new members and the community dialogue is flowing then these are positive reference points for measurement.

David provided five steps to a successful community:

  1. Work out your shared purpose and stick to it
  2. Organise your resources (do you need technical assistance, will you be able to manage a community when it grows in time)
  3. Participate  and be a good host
  4. Set goals
  5. Be patient

Panel Discussion – Integrating Social Media into traditional marketing strategies

Next up were Mark Watts-Jones from Orange UK, Dr. Torsten Wingenter from Lufthansa and Tom Nixon from NixonMcInnes.

The discussion started strong with Mark Watts-Jones explaining that “you may have a product that is perfect but if you don’t target your market then you’ll miss them”. The choice of media depends on who you are targeting.

Lufthansa often uses traditional media but they recognise that in certain situations, social media is pivotal. For example, during the pilot strike recently, they were able to give real time feedback about flight availability via social media.

Tom Nixon claimed that you can incorporate social media into an existing marketing strategy. Tom referenced back to the 4Ps of marketing and said that he believes that Product is becoming the most important factor.

However, Mark from Orange disputed this by saying that a product comes as a result of a customer’s wants and needs. Eighteen months ago, Orange got rid of their social media department and incorporated it into all they do. They saw what their customers were doing and they followed them.

Torsten agreed “if we don’t engage with our customers then where would we be?.  It goes back to that old saying, our products are our ads and our customers are our ad agency. We have to be on the same channel they are”. Tom Nixon added, if your target audience aren’t using social media then your brand shouldn’t either.

At the end, the floor opened to questions and a lady from Telecoms Slovenia asked the panel “how do you deal with negative comments online?”. Mark replied with a valid point: If someone is going to say something negative online and you prevent them by blocking them then they will say something negative offline instead. Orange would never ban someone for saying something negative online, instead they would engage with them. This then converts a negative experience into a positive experience. Tosten agreed, social media makes it quicker to sort things out with a customer and Lufthansa would never delete comments.

Social Media Is  Out Of Control – Alex Miller

Alex Miller, Head of Jam, i-Level’s Social media Unit gave an example of how they have built brands up using social media. He began, as others had tried to reiterate throughout the day, that you need a purpose to use social media. You can’t just use it for the sake of it. Some common questions that he hears are “what is my Facebook strategy?” or “How many followers should I have on Twiiter?”. These aren’t productive for creating a strong campaign.  Instead we need to ask ourselves “What have we got to say? Who should we be speaking to? How can we build better relationships with our customers?”,

To the disappointment of the event organisers, Alex ended with what many had already alluded to – everything is now social. It’s no longer called social media, it’s just the web.

Panel Discussion – Practical tips to launching, building and managing your brand with Social Media

Up next we had Martine Edgel from Mercedes  Benz, Mohammad Karim, from Mars Confectionary UK, Paul Cowan from Syncapse and Joe Hughes from Yomego.

Guy Clapperton opened up the discussion with Martine by asking how Mercedes Benz uses social media.  Martine described how they have recently created an independent online community for SMART car owners. Before doing this, Mercedes recognised that they needed to clarify their objective which was to create a space that SMART car owners could speak to Mercedes as a manufacturer and then drive sales from the initial car purchase to then purchasing accessories to go with it.

Mercedes Benz had to decide whether they should use existing channels and networks or create a new one. A common phrase is fish where the fish are but in this case, SMART acts as a smaller independent brand within Mercedes Benz and they didn’t have a strong presence on social media. Therefore, they felt it would be more effective to start afresh. If it was the Mercedes Benz brand then it would be more beneficial to utilise their audiences on Facebook and Twitter but SMART is not a mainstream brand.

Mars feels that their target audience is young males, specifically footballers. In order to communicate with them, Mohammad said that they needed to make the brand more relevant to them. Mars now has a link to the FA on their site and has links with the football community. Has this helped sales? asked Guy Clapperton. Karim replied that there are no measurements as yet because the campaign has just started but he confirmed that there is a comprehensive measurement behind it.

Joe Hughes said he gets frustrated when people say, “we’ve heard about social media and we want an iPhone App”. They seem to miss that they need to segment their audience. He recommends that brands fish where the fish are (if they are appropriate). Why not use the big channels as their marketing channel e.g. Facebook.

Each panel member was asked to give advice to companies looking to use social media.

Martine Edgel:

  1. Matine recommended that you ensure that senior management truly understand social media, or you at least manage their expectations. You can’t measure whether someone has bought your product as a result of seeing your website / social media platform and senior management may struggle with this concept.

Mohammed Karim:

  1. Start small. Start engaging with people on Facebook or Twitter. As you get used to this you can gain experience.

Paul Cowan:

  1. It’s a 24/7 and 365 day commitment so social media is not to be taken lightly. Investment required on a long term basis.
  2. Write a business strategy next to it – if you can’t justify the business benefit then you shouldn’t be doing it. We’re past the learning stage of social media.

Joe Hughes:

  1. Go out and grab all of your usernames / brand extensions before you need them.
  2. Have a social media strategy, know which platforms you’re targeting, and why?

That’s all the social goodness from part II, our final episode of the Social Media World Forum Trilogy soon follow – stay tuned!


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