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22/03/2010 by

Social Media World Forum – Part III

This is the final instalment of our recap from the Social Media World Forum in London last week. In case you missed part I and II you can find them here and here.

Just to recap – last week SocialMedia8, our sister agency, was proud sponsor of the Social Media World Forum in London.  Our conference report has been brought to you by resident Daan Jansonius and guest bloggers Anna Svensson and Reda Haq.

Social Media World Forum Day 2

Why the boardroom needs to tweet up and listen: how to navigate a corporate crisis in a Social Media landscape – Paul Charles

Paul Charles, COO of Lewis PR, talked about the challenges of navigating a corporate crisis in a social media landscape. He began by talking of how the internet had brought about the age of instant judgement. He used case studies of Eurostar, Virgin Atlantic, British Airways and ‘that tweet’ from Vodafone, all examples of recent social media crises for big brands, and went through how each company had dealt with the situation. Paul stressed the need to respond to complaints on the same platform they were made, and to do so in a timely fashion.

He spoke of how effective putting a face to the brand is when dealing with a social media crisis as, he said “trust is granted to individuals, not companies”. He suggested integrating pictures and videos into tweets and Facebook messages showing senior figures of the company explain and apologise for whatever they had done to wrong their consumers and audience.

Paul’s talk was centred on the importance of saying sorry because, he said, “so very few brands do.” Furthermore, he said brands should be apologising within an hour of becoming aware of the crisis and that the speed of response and value of being honest should not be underestimated.

The role of PR in developing and monitoring trends in your industry?Panel Discussion

Kerryn Dinsdale, senior PR manager at Barclaycard, Mark Schmid, communications director at TalkTalk and Kristin Wadge, director at Metrica, sat on a panel on ‘the role of PR in developing monitoring trends in your industry’, chaired by Paul Armstrong, director of social media at Kindred.

It was interesting to hear from Kerryn how well Barclaycard are using social media in the company, not only for customer service and consumer engagement, but also to increase communications and bring together diverse areas of the organisation such as legal, and HR.

Mark talked about the importance of monitoring TalkTalk’s online presence. Kristin highlighted the importance of using a variety of monitoring tools and advised assessing your campaign’s specific needs when choosing the tools to use as different tools excel in different areas. Kristin recommended setting clear goals and measurable objectives from the very start.

Rather inevitably, the discussion came to the question of demonstrating ROI on social media activity which Kerryn tackled by saying Barclaycard focused more on the delivery of messages through social media.

The future of newspapers in an online worldDirk Singer

Next to speak was Dirk Singer, head of The Rabbit Agency, who spoke on the future of newspapers in an online world. He began by presenting Demand Media as the rather horrifying example of what the internet could look like if content were solely driven by advertising revenue. He then went into the various problems newspapers currently face, like climbing print costs, the nature of news being old once published and the loss of the younger demographic as consumers.

To evidence just how expendable newspapers had become for younger generations, Dirk quoted from an OfCom report which cited the internet, computers and mobiles as the most essential form of media for 16-24 year olds. He concluded that, having been in decline for many years now, the newspaper industry will never truly recover from the hit of the recession.

Rather than seeing this as the end, Dirk envisioned the future to be one where newspapers would evolve in two directions; the first sees newspapers become an elite product with quality, feature-lead articles and a focus on aesthetics. The second direction sees the rise of media brands producing a hybrid between papers and the web. With the distinctions between journalist, broadcaster and blogger becoming ever more fluid, the best aspects of the internet and newspapers will combine to produce trusted news brands which offer premium content.

The Future of Newspapers in an Online

Future consumption of Social Media content, how will Social Media engage with other delivering platforms?Evan Solomon

Evan Solomon of’ spoke about the value of considering response through the equation:

Media = Content + Response

He said that in social media often the response is an add-on, an afterthought. He advised the audience to be wary about getting too caught up in the ‘content is king’ idea, but rather to treat response with equal importance.

The future of Social media and its implications for brandsAdam Graham

Adam Graham, Operations Partner of Saint@RKCR/Y&R, was the last speaker of the day and presented brilliantly on the future of social media and its implications for brands. He talked about the idea of ‘brand intimacy’, which focuses closely on engagement with consumers through the 4 Cs:

  1. Culture
  2. Conversation
  3. Collaboration
  4. Compensation

Suggesting social was a feature rather than a destination, Adam presented his diverse ideas of what the future has in store.

More mobility – being social online whilst on the move. Connecting with friends and consuming content simultaneously, equally the case with the growth of social tv. More social commerce, more smart recommendations – think Amazon’s ‘you liked this book? How about this one’, social browsing will give rise to social search, social working – Facebook and other networks will be acceptable to use at work – and there will be an infinite number of social networks and an infinite number of niche communities.

Adam went on to say that the real power of social media lies in the integration of all the different strands of being online, but equally maintaining that multifaceted identity across the various platforms.

In terms of the implications, Adam advised that brands would need to be open, honest and transparent, communicating with speed and providing value. He highlighted that with more accurate online personas, brands will have a real opportunity to target in a focused manner, but he raised the question of whether marketers will choose to apply such precise ‘brand intimacy’ or whether they will simply push forward with the lowest common denominator when engaging with their consumers. We’d certainly hope for the former, but this remains to be seen.

Quite interestingly, Adam also cited recent cases of how people had come together and rallied behind certain products or brands like Wispa and Rage Against the Machine and suggested there may well be more of this ‘new socialism’ where people power will reach the extent of people actually creating brands. He also mentioned there may be more collaboration between brands.

He concluded his talk by talking about the digital age as the end of anonymity and proclaimed privacy to be the new social currency.

That also includes our coverage from the Social Media World forum – thanks for reading and hopefully see you at next year’s event!


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