The 8th Annual Social Media Masters Summit was held in Chicago yesterday, and it featured several great Chicago brands detailing how they are tackling social media and digital marketing. I was honored to be a speaker, but for the rest of the day I was live-tweeting the event at #SMMS8. These are my 10 key takeaways from an informative and thought-provoking day:
Be bold, but be ready for anything. Kevin Saghy of the Chicago Cubs received executive permission to be "a little more edgy" on Twitter, and it made for very engaging fan content. In one particularly bold campaign, the Cubs starting trash talking with the cross-town White Sox, and not surprisingly, the White Sox didn't remain silent. Fans of both teams loved the exchanges, but Saghy and his team learned that if you give it on social media, you have to be able to take it, too.
Partnerships need to benefit both brands. Saghy also detailed a brilliant partnership campaign with Benjamin Moore paint that included the restoration of the famous Wrigley Field marquee to its original green and gold colors to honor the 100th anniversary of the ballpark. Not only was the video viewed thousands of times, but fans clamored to buy the exact same paint colors for their homes, and Benjamin Moore hit their annual social media mentions goal in one day! Successful partnerships need to "get beyond the press release" to create engagement, Saghy said.
Ban the word "viral". That's exactly what Tim Bay of Wilton Cakes did in his office. "Content doesn't need to go viral in order to provide marketing value," he said. Bay added that video content must do at least one - and preferably two - of the following: Inspire, Educate, Entertain.
Pick the right influencers. "Find someone who would work with your brand even if you didn't pay them," said Bay. They key is authenticity: make sure the influencers actually know and like your brand before engaging with them. Conference coordinator Hope Bertram of Digital Megaphone suggested that getting to know influencers beforehand, going to blogger conferences, reading and commenting on their blogs, and noticing the tone of their Twitter posts are critical steps. And "beware of 'influencers' with a large percentage of fake followers," she added.
Every channel eventually fails us. Rich Levy of Haute Sausage and Giftie App shared that time changes our use and perspective of all channels. At one time, the U.S. Postal Service was revolutionary, but that evolved into people receiving tons of junk mail. The telephone - another revolutionary channel - eventually led to despised telemarketers. The big question is how social media will eventually evolve, but the key today is to find "the right message at the right time to the right people at the right price".
One tweet can launch a revolution. When Steve Green tweeted about a great meal with the hashtag #Foodiechats, he never dreamed it would spawn a weekly Twitter chat involving thousands of people from around the world talking about their favorite foods. The #Foodiechats community "was built by the community," Green said, which is food for thought (pun intended) for any brand. Green has also successfully and seamlessly integrated sponsorships - including with chef Rick Bayless and Negra Modelo beer - and is even launching a "Split a Bite" feature on his new app which could become the next dating option for foodies.
Always be ready for disruption. Joel Warady of Enjoy Life Foods walked the audience through an incredible disruption story. First the Dollar Shave Club went after Gillette and other razor companies with inexpensive razors that were delivered quickly to the customer's home. Then Harry's Razors introduced even less expensive razors that were delivered more quickly. Then Amazon teased a future Prime Air delivery system that promises deliveries in just 30 minutes via drone. And finally, Uber introduced Uber Essentials, to get you "the everyday items you need in 10 minutes or less". Don't believe this can happen? Warady also asked the audience if anyone in the room had NEVER ordered something from Amazon; ONE person raised a hand.
It's a one-screen world. Warady also talked about the multiple "screens" on which customers engaged, but he said that "It's not about the 'second screen' or 'third screen', it's about a 'one-screen-world philosophy'. "He added, "We need solutions for the screen that's in front of our customers at that particular moment." As an example, he cited a statistic that 41% of mobile shoppers would like location-based offers.
Even clowns can do social. David Zlotnik of McDonald's talked about transforming Ronald McDonald from a "brand icon" to a "social hero" for the 69 million daily customers across 36,000 global restaurants. Zlotnik shared four questions the brand asked when developing Ronald's online persona, prompting astute observer Bob E. Hayes to tweet: "Good questions to answer for anyone using social media."
It pays to pay. The goal of the Big Ten Network in social media is to reach viewers in real-time, even if they are viewing a different channel. Jordan Maleh shared that the organization starts with organic tweets and then puts money behind ones that are working. Real-time interaction requires targeted promoted tweets, so the network uses geo-targeting down to the ZIP code level to get at fans of individual schools.