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What to expect from Social Media Week?

by Simon Jenkins | 19.09.2014
Social Media Week is back this September, running in 11 cities across the world. In such a fast-moving industry, Social Media Week often acts as an ironic welcome rest, giving us time to carefully consider where we are and what’s next.

The ever-growing schedule has now been fully released. The schedule alone and the titles of various workshops, presentations and panel sessions help give us an idea of what to expect from the week as a whole. Having spent some time going through the program, I’ve tried to decipher what we can expect from next week’s Social Media Week.

1.    Focus on the customer

In previous years, rightly or wrongly, there’s been such a focus on content with little mention of your customer or audience. I actually remember attending a panel session in 2013 where we were being preached to about content. Someone asked if “all content works for all customers”. That’s where we are. We’re at a stage where Social can’t and doesn’t deliver a blanket message that all can consume. I think we’ll see a lot about defining who your audience are, which can then inform a content strategy.

2.    Social & Mobile

I think this is a genuinely exciting area. Certainly a lot of campaigns that I both work on and admire have begun shifting towards the ‘instantly consumable’ message. I think this shift was massively boosted by the realization from brands that Social & TV were a match made in heaven. I think this could tie in with the above too. How does a mobile audience consume content differently? It also feels as if we’re on the verge of something quite exciting in terms of our approach to transactions, which the introduction of contactless payment, and soon, Apple Pay. I really believe this is big news for the relationship between mobile and social.

3.    ROI blah blah blah

Sorry. I had to. I’ve had to admit that I’ll be arguing (not discussing, arguing) about this until my last grey hair remains atop my head! A great quote that sums this up for me can actually be lifted straight from the Social Media Week program. ‘Don’t count, measure’. Spot on. ROI isn’t always about what social is delivering to your bottom line. It’s understanding what business value it can deliver. It’s the term business value that we’ve struggled with for years. “We can talk to our customers” isn’t business value.

4.    Wearable tech

Love it or hate it, this is a big deal. It’s already led to feuds in the office. For what it’s worth, the idea of wearable tech integrating with Social Media makes my belly fizz! At the risk of sounding clichéd, it’s the next step in a rapidly evolving world. When I first started working in social, the idea that a majority of users would use their mobile phones to use Social Media was relatively alien. I think these will be the really exciting sessions at SMW. I’ll see you there!

I guess the beauty of Social Media Week is that you can never really totally guess what’s going to be discussed. Every year, there’s a new exciting topic being discussed, argued and sold! One thing you can guarantee is that there will be a fine array of quiffs and beards.