Will Social Media Week Wake People Up to Social?

Tuesday September 15 – the official opening day of the event.

I had high expectations as a list of market leaders and big brands took the stage to talk to us about their Social Media strategies, approaches and interactions.

I had shortlisted a handful of seminars I was keen to attend and learn from the masters.

Without picking out any individuals I felt somewhat disappointed from the kick off. Although Gianfranco Chicco head of SMW introduced the event well and got our excitement levels ready for a great show, I felt myself feeling let down by the content presented.

Having attended the BrightonSEO event earlier this year I thought my expectation for a similarly high quality event was not unreasonable. But I soon learned that wasn’t quite the case. Whether it be because it is still such early days for social media, or simply the teams presenting had been given little direction on the audience and what would be engaging. For a social media event it was dull and uninspiring.

Each presentation felt like a sale pitch. There was little substance to take away from the discussion until the final 5 minutes where people in the audience were allowed to ask the questions – we actually wanted to know the answers to. Even then the answers were fairly lackluster.

My tips to what the SMW London event should include:

  1. Discussion about SOCIAL MEDIA – not just branding
  2. Statistics and findings to engage the audience – show us why you are so good!
  3. New and exciting ways to use social media to engage an audience
  4. Enthusiastic presenters that look at:
    • Technology and analysis
    • Making sense of social data
    • What to look for

As a digital marketer and speaking to many other social media agencies or brand managers they all seemed to say the same thing. We were being pitched and even then at a very basic level.

Based on the above, and conversations with people at the show, it has spurred me on to provide some brief bullet points on what people may be looking for at an event like this:

  • Content
  • Ideas
  • Findings
  • Examples
  • Data
  • Vision

It wasn’t all bad. The Radio session was interesting, and speckled with video content to keep me interested, they included statistics of share and results of the social efforts. The Nescafe Tumblr had potential, had they have shown us what the concept was at the start, then delivered us some data to back up how it has enhanced their brand and how tumblr was the only way they could achieve this – they would have had my attention. Some of the better sessions I missed, but Sarah Wood CEO of Unruly Co, had some raving tweets as she was enthusiastic and presenting well.

Compared to Social Media Week LA earlier in the year, which my colleague attended, I would expect more from SMW London next year.

Rachel Mepham
With over 15 years’ experience in Digital Marketing, Rachel heads up the team at Digital Clarity. With a deep skill set in the Paid Search, Social Media and Analytics, Rachel is regarded by both clients and peers as one of the most experienced and prolific women in the UK digital space. Her approach and application to digital strategy planning has been used by some of the biggest brands as well as leading advertising and marketing agencies.