10 things Equator has learned through Social Media Week 2015

Equator takes a look at 10 insights from 2015's Social Media Week London: from life saving emoji to the importance of context.

The busiest week in the year for someone who works in social media, Social Media Week London is a conglomerate of useful insights, well used clichés (content is king, anyone?) and a chance to meet some of the best names in the business.

This year’s theme was ‘Upwardly Mobile: The rise of the connected class’ – no doubt tying into the fact that over 1.5 billion people across the world have social accounts on their mobile devices.

But with so many events taking place across London, it’s hard to know exactly what events to attend and what can be learned. We take a look at 10 key insights from the week.

1: The majority of social media managers don’t measure success

It seems obvious: be it a campaign or day to day work, you should analyse what works well, looking at both the successful and unsuccessful and using benchmarks to judge the results by.

And yet Synthesio’s ‘Avoid Social Chimpery: Use Social ROI to build quality campaigns and stop flinging crap’ talk revealed that 53 per cent of social media managers don’t actually measure success. Mind. Blown.

Difficulties in accurately measuring ROI was given as the main reason for this.

2: Great social content isn’t always planned

Okay, this isn’t something we learned: but it’s a great insight all the same, and when delivered by Twitter it’s even more potent!

During the microblogging company’s ‘Your phone is changing the world’ talk, Tariq Slim pointed out that the ability to react instantly matters.

3: We post when our lives are good and surf when it is bad

Although this is still being debated on Twitter following the talk, Dr Linda Papadopoulos (you may remember her from her work at Cosmo a few years ago), revealed her insight that we are most likely to post then things are going well in our lives and simply surf comments when things are going bad.

Anyone at the stage of their life that their Facebook feed is full of weddings, babies and generally #smugface may agree with this comment: but we’re not sure if there is any scientific proof.

Dr Linda was speaking at the Ogilvy event ‘The truth behind the (profile) picture: Does social media affect your mental health?’

4: Emoji are saving pandas

No –really! That’s what WWF said in their talk called, erm, ‘How emoji are saving the panda’.

The charity used the emoji for 17 endangered animals to raise money for conservation.

5: Images mean the same thing to everyone

The rise of telling stories using short form means that we don’t need a text-based language any more: that’s according to Buzzfeed’s director of brand partnerships in Europe.

Images mean the same thing to everyone – and what is important is to connect to everyone, he suggested in his ‘how to speak emoji: short form content and distribution secrets from Buzzfeed’ talk.

6: Sentiment isn’t just positive and negative

Anyone who has ever used a sentiment tracking tool will know this: sentiment can’t neatly be packaged as ‘positive’ and ‘negative’. Ever had to change a comment marked as positive to the unhappy-face pile because it’s sarcastic? Yep – we’ve all been there.

Context is everything, and that’s a point that was raised in the Ogilvy talk ‘Lies, damned lies, and social statistics: Why raw data can tell the wrong story, and why that matters’.

7: We live in an age of attention poverty

Sorry…what was I saying? Oh yes, we live in a world where the challenge is to get the right information in front of the right people at the right time.

As much as we may wish, we don’t have the time to scroll through social all the time to see all the posts ever written: so it’s down to the social team to make sure these hit the mark at the time people will see them.

That’s right: we live in an age of attention poverty – at least, according to Tuesday’s ‘What’s yours is mine – content in the 21st century’, a discussion around brand created content versus user generated content.

8: Making content emotional is key

Emotional ads drive better business than rational ads, Unruly revealed at their discussion on ‘Seven steps to surviving the ad-pocalypse’.

It doesn’t have to be the ‘aww’ feeling of puppies – but evoking feelings is definitely important when it comes to getting a response to an advert: be it on TV or social.

9: Create things that are so meaningful that your audience cannot help but listen

Famous ad man David Ogilvy once said ‘Don’t bunt. Aim out of the ballpark. Aim for the company of immortals’.

It’s something that Will Hayward of Dazed magazine repeated in his talk ‘Definitely not content’.

He added that bad content is today’s banner ad: and the solution is the same. Make something that is meaningful!

And finally…

10. Don’t start a hashtag with a full stop

You would think at a social media event, people would know how to work a hashtag. So it’s a bit of a head scratcher how Nescafe and Tumblr ended up with #.comisdead in their presentation on ‘The rebirth of owned: How the world’s #1 coffee brand is changing the landscape with Tumblr’.

Okay it’s no #susanalbumparty, but it’s always worth double and triple-checking hashtags before you use them!