Social Media Week is one of the industry’s premier digital media conferences. This year’s event, held in New York City during the last week of February, brought together industry leaders from Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, The New York Times, and GE, among other innovators in technology, entertainment, and retail. Their presentations ranged from consumer research to marketing trends and best practices, but more importantly, the conference offered an opportunity to engage in conversations about the impact of social media, emerging technologies, and how to leverage these trends for our clients. Here are a few of my key takeaways from Social Media Week 2017.
New Layers of Immersion
There’s been much ado about virtual and augmented reality and 360° video, but the cost of hardware has made it inaccessible to most consumers. As prices for headsets begins to moderate and low-cost devices, such as Google Cardboard, become more widely available, marketers are banking on these technologies to immerse consumers in new brand experiences that deepen the emotional connection with the consumer.
Many marketers are already using live video on Facebook and Instagram to engage with consumers in real time—inviting viewers to be part of breaking news stories or backstage at their favorite designer’s runway show and use of live video is expected to accelerate this year.
Influencers will continue to be important for brands, especially within the beauty, fashion, and food and beverage categories. As the tactic has grown, marketers are employing more sophisticated, data-driven techniques to measure effectiveness and getting more strategic when developing influencer campaigns. As we always tell our clients before launching an influencer campaign, understand your purpose, then create a roadmap to achieve your goal.
At the same time, consumers are getting savvier about the influencers they follow. Most people understand that influencers receive free products or payment (frequently both) from brands they promote. This has made influencers work smarter. To maintain an authentic presence, many influencers only want to work with brands they truly are committed to advocating for. If the partnership is authentic and makes sense for both the brand and the influencer, an influencer’s followers will continue to support her.
Finally, due to changes to algorithms on just about every social platform, it’s nearly impossible for both brands and influencers to reach an effective scale. Brands recognize the need to support their social content and influencer programs with targeted, paid social. Strategically boosting content has proven to be a successful—and necessary tactic that works hand-in-hand with influencer programs.
The craft of great storytelling has never gone out of style—but with increasing competition, brands are challenged to step up their game and adapt content to be consumed more naturally and organically on each platform. If it’s a good idea and authentic to the brand, your content will succeed, whether it’s executed as a 15-second Instagram video, 60-second TV spot, 360°-video, or VR experience.