Sociality Squared was the social media marketing partner for Brandemonium 2018, the world’s premiere branding conference. Some of the most well-known and disruptive brands converged in Cincinnati, the birthplace of branding, earlier this month to discuss the evolution and future of the industry. In addition to managing all of the social media marketing, we also oversaw a social media volunteer program to assist in the live coverage, our CEO Helen Todd spoke on the panel “How to Keep Your Brand Relevant in a 3 Second World,” and we hosted the second annual S2xExchange dinner in celebration of the conference.
During Brandemonium, Helen sat down with Jamey Wagner, Executive Director for Interbrand, at brandchannel’s live studio. Watch the interview and read more below on the five questions she answered.
Question 1: How do you successfully grow and engage communities on social media?
At Sociality Squared, we help people discover and connect to what they love. We take a people-first approach in everything we do and that means keeping the customer in mind when it comes to social media marketing. This starts with listening to them. Who are they? Where and how are they spending time online? What is meaningful to them? What gets them excited to connect and to connect with each other in the communities we’re nurturing and building? How can we be stewards to the conversations and communities they want to be a part of?
After eight and a half years of doing social media marketing, we help our clients achieve their business goals through our proven approach of integration, strategy, creative, daily engagement, analysis, and optimization. Our name “sociality” means the tendency of individuals to form communities, so our philosophy is embedded in everything we do. There is an art to growing communities, but it always comes down to never forgetting who we’re serving: people.
Question 2: How do you get inside the heads and hearts of your customers?
We believe in the power of listening at Sociality Squared, but this also means going offline and connecting with your customers in person and over the phone to have a conversation with them. We believe in the power of social media, but we also believe in the power of people connecting in person. What are customers sharing and what is being said between the lines?
When it comes to online listening, we use a lot of tools to understand what conversations are taking place across the web. We always pair data with intuition and that comes from years of experience in the space and also by keeping in mind the customer journey and experience with a customer-first approach to everything we do.
Question 3: What emerging technologies will further shape how customers consume visual content? And how should brands leverage those technologies to strengthen and grow brand experiences and relationships with people?
In the interview, Helen mentions one of the most interesting emerging technologies is voice which actually removes imagery from the experience, except for engaging people’s imaginations!
When it comes to visual content, we know that more and more people are consuming content on their mobile phones and of that 70% of content is consumed on the go. By 2020, over 75% of global mobile data traffic will be video content. Brands often have short audition windows to capture people’s attention and that starts with compelling visuals, whether images or video.
We also look to our customers as guides to where they’re spending time online and meet them there. For example, when it comes to social customer service, if a customer reached out on Facebook Messenger, we try to completely resolve the issue there instead of directing the customer to call to have their issue resolved. If customers aren’t spending time, say on Snapchat, then it doesn’t make sense for our clients to be putting resources into that platform. When we take a customer-first approach, this means using them as a guide for where we should be meeting and engaging them.
Question 4: How have successful brands leverage the shift to video to successfully stay ahead?
We always encourage our clients to experiment with new forms of content, like Instagram Stories and vertical video. Instead of just replicating a good piece of content on a new platform, it’s important to keep in mind the story and to reimagine it and bring it alive in a way that is in the culture of the platform and how the customer expects to consume the information. For example, we know customers watch most video with the sound off, so we design videos with this in mind and to delight them when if they turn the sound on!
Storytelling is always at the heart of what we do. Each piece of content may serve a different purpose. Some may be teaser-trailers to longer form content and others may drive conversations, but all content plays a part in the bigger story, and the sum is more than the parts. We want to make sure that our stories not only reach our customers, but are also received by them. This necessitates an understanding of how content is consumed on the different platforms and what consumers expect from a platform level paired with an emotional understanding of who they are as people.
Question 5: What are you anticipating for the future of social media marketing?
For some of us here on the S2 team, social media wasn’t even around when we were in college! It rose quickly and makes you wonder where the industry will be in 25 years, especially when you think about emerging technology and issues around privacy. However, in the near future, we believe that compelling visual content that is mobile-friendly and tells a story continue to be important.
To create content that resonates, Helen shares that the S2 team tries to get out of our own echo chambers so that the content we create reflects the full spectrum of who the customers are. This requires connecting with customers, listening, and empathy. And then applying this with thoughtful, intentional decisions when it comes to creating content, from who we work with to the language we’re using and the people we’re showing in the content. While technology has changed and will continue to do so, the basic principle of listening to the customer and communicating with them on a two-way street remains as important as ever.
Read more about what Helen had to say here! What do you think the future holds for social media? Share your predictions in the comments.