Shake It Up: 7 Top Takeaways from #SocialShakeUp15

This week was awesome. I had my first chili cheese dog at The Varsity. I drank at least six liters of Coke Zero. And I heard some of the best minds in social media discuss how the industry is changing and improving. How did I accomplish all of this in one week? Spredfast was a sponsor at this year’s Social ShakeUp in Atlanta, and I had the privilege to attend.

#socialshakeup15 top termsSadly I can’t share the chili cheese dog, but I can share some of my takeaways from the conference:

1. It’s time to get your employees onboard.

Employee advocacy was a super hot topic at this year’s Social Shakeup. So hot, that the conference had a one day workshop dedicated to the concept.

This idea is nothing new—your employees should be your company’s greatest advocates. If you can’t get your employees onboard, how can you expect to get customers to care about you?

It was clear that brands are still struggling to figure out how to do this effectively and at scale, but there are some easy solutions companies can put in place today. Speak the language of your employees and tailor the program to your their needs, get C-Suite buy-in and support of your program, and find ways to track and reward employees for participation.

2. Your audience is getting younger.

Or as Tribal Planet CMO Don Bulmer referred to them, “screenagers.”

Smart brands know that millennials are the audience that will buy their product for the next 20+ years, and there’s a shift in thinking about new ways to reach this audience.

Our CMO Jim Rudden interviewed Coca-Cola senior activation manager Julie Goodwyn about her work on My Coke Rewards, the country’s #1 CPG Loyalty Program. Julie’s discussion centered around personalizing content around passions and adding rewards to encourage sharing. Millennials are more likely to participate in a program where there is a value add for them, and it doesn’t feel like straight advertising.

3. Measurement is a challenge.

It sounds like people know that they need data, and they may even know how to get the data… but then they have no idea what to do with it. Josh Martin from Arby’s mentioned that he used to get 50+ pages of reports with no clear change or learnings. It’s time to move on from “data for data’s sake,” and think about data in terms of what story it is telling.

Finding the tools that make it easy to find your data (and the insights within all of that data) is key in this approach. It’s also inefficient to create reports if there aren’t any actionable insights. Present your data as the “three top stories,” and if there’s not a story to tell, then don’t be afraid to say that. Also, make sure that before you launch a new campaign, you clearly know how to measure its success. Our Social Measurement tipsheet has great ideas for identifying impact through numbers.

4. Omnichannel, so hot right now.

One of my favorite observations came from Banafsheh Ghassemi, CEO of Tangerine Lab. She mentioned that most brands are multichannel—there are multiple channels they can interact with the customer (email, website, mobile, app, social, etc) but none of them work together and there is no seamless experience. Think about it though—there’s probably not a single person out there who operates in one channel. Brands need to become omnichannel. Although it may be challenging, the focus needs to be on delivering a seamless experience to the customer no matter where they are.

As Julie Goodwyn from Coke said, “we became social first. We don’t tack social onto the end of a campaign. We think about it from the very beginning.” We are obviously big fans of this concept. It’s time to remove social from the silo and work with your brand’s other channel owners to create the best customer experience.

5. Customer experience is the way of the future.

I heard “customer experience” described a few different ways, but the common thread seemed to come back to emotion. Customer experience should focus around the feelings the customer has throughout their entire relationship with you. And that doesn’t mean thinking about yourcustomer’s journey beginning at “purchase” or ending at “cancellation.” What was your customer doing before they had even heard about you? Where do they go after?

Understand and listen to your customers. Know how they got to your social channels, how they use your social channels, and where they go once they’re done. Social provides one of the best opportunities to  talk directly and listen to your customers. Customer experience has direct links to loyalty and profitability, so find ways to understand your customer’s journey with your brand.

6. ...And that means, it’s (past) time to start social care.

"If you are going to open any social channel, you have to think about customer care." This quote from Natanya Anderson at Whole Foods hits the nail on the head.

Your company can’t hide behind price cuts and marketing blasts. Social brought service to eye-level: it makes your brand’s complaints and customer relationships public. Social is public and permanent, and it’s time to get your social care right.

Dan Gingiss from Discover had a great point though: you cannot do social care if you do not have a good culture of service in the first place. Make sure that all teams handling care at your company are empowered to provide customer service.

After that, find ways to make it easy to interact with you in the channel they choose—don’t ask someone who reaches out to you on Twitter to email or call for customer service, resolve the issue there. When you can, for certain industries like finserv, create an easy path to resolution. Make the customer your focus.

7. Innovate quickly, and don’t be afraid to fail.

This was a key message from Twitter’s Daina Middleton during her keynote, and supported again by Mark Hatch on day 2: "If you try something and it doesn't work, it's a data point...Failure is just cheap marketing.”

This isn’t an idea only for social, it pertains to life in general. Throughout my career, I have worked and volunteered with talented people who struggle with perfectionism. Feeling empowered to fail is something that I think changes my attitude about a lot of what I do. It’s okay to test, it’s okay to take risks, it’s okay to try emerging networks like Periscope or Snapchat. It’s okay to fail at something as long as you learn from it.

All of that Coke Zero isn’t the only thing that left me energized this week. I felt inspired leaving Atlanta with great insights about the state of social from so many smart people. There is nothing like having new insights at your fingertips to spark new ideas. If you want even more insight into the state of social and inspiration from top brands leading the pack, download the Smart Social Report—brand new research using 2015 data to uncover trends and patterns across social.

Laura Baker's picture

Laura Baker

Laura is the Senior Manager of Digital Strategy, leading strategy and analytics for Spredfast's digital channels. A Kansas City native, Laura loves barbecue, Jayhawks, Boulevard Beer and Bo Jackson. In her free time, Laura trains dogs at a local animal rescue, writes for a classic movie review blog and tweets (frequently) at @SnackMantis.