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Figaro Social Media Marketing Conference: Review

Posted by Danny Whatmough on 20th November 2009


I’m a bit late with this one, but it’s been a busy few weeks! On Tuesday 3rd November I attended Figaro’s Social Media Marketing Conference in London.

As with all these types of events, some of it was good, some was less good, but once you looked past the vanilla presentations/salespitches from the sponsors and a few large-ego-ed ‘social media gurus’, there were some really interesting case studies and some concrete advice from the people that are actually out there doing this stuff we call social media marketing.

Rather than do a blow by blow account of the day, I thought I’d pull out some of the themes and key ideas I came away with.

Too many brands fail to see social media campaigns all the way through

This was covered by Andy O’brien from Amaze and Jonathan MacDonald. The problem is that although the interaction on social media or shareable content is often well-conceived and thought-through, when users try to go to the next stage, they are often let down. It’s like having a great conversation with a brand on Twitter only to click through to their site and find it impossible to navigate.

Customer service is the next big thing?

Andy from Amaze suggested that customer service will be the next big thing in social media. I’d suggest that it is already, but I know what he means! For me, the way we link customer service (or not) to social media marketing is an interesting challenge/question.

It’s all about innovation and content is still king

There were some great case studies throughout the day (kudos to Scott Burton and the T-Mobile dance flashmob, Stuart Parkinson from VCCP and Comparethemeerkat, Charles Williams from British Red Cross and Anna Rafferty from Penguin Digital).

What these examples all had in common was bundles of creativity, innovation and ‘wow-ness’. They also all found great ways to use all this ‘goodness’ to deliver content or allow their users to create content that stood out from the crowd.

Social media as a phrase is meaningless – social is everywhere

Euan Semple commented that “everything has become social and the word has lost all meaningless”. I agree that there is a danger that social media just becomes a catch-all term for everything and anything digital.

Stuart at VCCP revealed how he felt the Meerkat campaign was a ‘social’ campaign not a ‘social media’ campaign. Alan from SMLXL probably said it best: “human beings are a social species”.

Organisational challenges

Many of the speakers and audience members spoke about the organisational challenges of running social media campaigns. Some revealed that they just got on and did it without any formal, top-level approval. Others shared the ways in which they got buy-in from senior staff. It seems there is no easy answer to this one and that individual circumstances can radically change the goal-posts.

Distributed content

Most of the case studies explored the idea of ‘distributed content’ and for me this is a huge development area that we are finally seeing come to fruition as technology advances.

Social media in 2012

My vote for presentation of the day was Freddie Laker from Sapient. His look at the social media trends we will see by 2012 was great! Rather than try and mis-quote what he said, I’d urge you to visit his blog for more!