6 Lessons From the Social Media World Forum

Drew Neisser Founder & CEO, Renegade

Posted on December 18th 2012

6 Lessons From the Social Media World Forum

If you go to as many social media conferences as I do, sometimes it is difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff. At least that's the excuse I'm going to give for having my associate at Renegade, Merlin Ward share the six unique lessons he gleaned from the recent Social Media World Forum (SMWF) conference in New York City. 

1. Pair Your Social with Ads

Chris Thorne, Vice President of Social Media & Media at EA, the sports game developer, found that content was more effective when coupled with Facebook advertising. They put extra care into creating content that users could “play” with, essentially gamifying their Timeline; then they made the monetary spend to promote it to as many users as possible. The result was more than just extended reach—they increased virality and sales.

2. Your Content Doesn’t Work Everywhere

Morgan Baden, Director of Social Media and Internal Communications for the book publisher Scholastic, shared their failures and successes with Pinterest. Pinterest is a natural social network for this brand, but they found that not all content is created equal. While female users enjoyed sharing book covers and special quote memes from books, photographs for events and other physical spaces didn’t attract the same interest. It seems that content made for collecting does the best on Pinterest, while amateur point-of-view photography is better left on the shelf. 

3. Branch Out Beyond Your Brand

Felicia Yukich, Manager of Social Media Worldwide for Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, discovered the secret to using social media in the hospitality industry. The fundamentals of hospitality – thinking about your guests’ stay in and outside of the hotel – translates well into social media. Therefore, Four Seasons curates content far beyond the hotel brand, such as wedding planning ideas, sight seeing destinations and recreational activities. They get into the minds of their audience and focus on their interests, just like a good concierge would do. 

4. Build Social Into Your Product

In keeping with one of the conference themes, Jesse Redniss, Senoir Vice President of Digital at USA Network, noted that social works best when it’s anticipated in the product creation phase. Brands should leverage natural user behavior by building social sharing into products and providing seamless social activity around their brands online. The consensus was that users are going to be social anyway, so why not enable them?

5. There is NO Crisis Plan

Morgan Johnston, Manager of Corporate Communications at Jet Blue, and Paul Fox, Director of Corporate Communications at P&G, talked about addressing crisis as a brand. The short of it is that there is no cure for crisis, but brand openness speaks volumes. P&G invited bloggers to their shop to talk about anything they wanted and write anything they wanted—good or bad—after negative news surfaced around a certain product line. After a dramatic employee exit, Jet Blue posted on their website that they didn’t know any more than anyone else about the situation but were trying to find the answers. These clear and open lines of communication helped bring the correct information to light in the end.

6. Brands Can Talk to Other Brands

Shane Steele, Director of Sales Marketing at Twitter, shared examples of brands talking with each other, which, in turn, created viral content and brand adoration by users. Oreo and AMC had a Twitter exchange about sneaking snacks into theaters, and Taco Bell and Old Spice had an exchange about their “spicy” ingredients. These conversations were both genuine and humorous and left the door open for consumers play along.

And lest you think I was doing nothing at SMWF, you can find my interviews with these SMWF speakers: Kip Wetzel (Comcast), Jay Epstein (Sprinklr), Nicole Bohorad (CapitalOne) and Morgan Baden (Scholastic) all on TheDrewBlog.


Drew Neisser

Founder & CEO, Renegade

Drew Neisser is CEO & Founder of Renegade the NYC-based social media and marketing agency that helps inspired clients cut through the nonsense to deliver genuine business growth. A frequent speaker at industry events, Drew’s been a featured expert on ABC’s Nightline and CNBC. In addition to blogging for SocialMediaToday, you can find Drew’s articles on FastCompany.com, MediaPost and TheDrewBlog.

In the last few years, Drew and Renegade created PerkZone for Time Warner Cable Business Class, built the @TalkingBench for the NCAA, charged up the prepaid card market launching MAGIC by Magic Johnson via events & social, unleashed the AXA Gorilla on Twitter with audio tweets and a virtual retirement party, introduced young adults to Harlem Liqueur and made a splash for Davidoff Cool Water on Facebook.

Also at Renegade, Drew hatched numerous award-winning campaigns for a long-list of blue chip clients.  His ideas for HSBC, Panasonic and IBM were all recognized by BRANDWEEK as Guerrilla Marketers of the Year.   Among these is the legendary HSBC BankCab program, a restored Checker, that has been delighting HSBC customers since 2003 with free rides (and now informative tweets).  

Drew’s creative accomplishments include naming and launching the Toughbook for Panasonic and penning numerous taglines.  These include “Like money. Only Magic.” for MAGIC by Magic Johnson prepaid MasterCard, “Where Family Comes First.” for Family Circle Magazine, “Fire things up,” for Toasted Head wine and “Great tech support. Good karma.” for iYogi.

Diapered at Wells Rich Greene, trained at JWT and retrained at Chiat/Day, Drew founded Renegade in 1996 as a place where the best ideas can sprout from any corner and collaboration trumps ego.  Drew earned a BA in history from Duke University and lives in Manhattan with his wife and the agency’s mascot, a French bulldog named Pinky.  A native Californian, Drew dreams of becoming a surfer but is a long way from hanging ten.

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Posted on December 20th 2012 at 10:42PM

When creating content for your social media pages, make sure it is appropriate for the site that you are posting it too.  You want to make sure that you are posting content that is appropriate for your target audience as well as the type of social media site that your are posting on.