Human nature: our curiosity can often be provoked when a conference is prefaced by NDAs that prevent participants from sharing the discussion externally. Such was apparently the nature of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO) Digital Marketing + Media Network Event in Palo Alto last week. An event which included senior leaders from Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, among others. However, writer Todd Harrison was granted permission to share very particular elements of his journey. The net-net? That “next big thing” appears to be for brands to use ‘social’ more strategically, connecting with and engaging their customers more holistically to drive business growth.
Per usual, we culled some of the key points shared by Harrison:
- Social platforms & activities is where people are spending their time online: while people’s use of portals is down (-24%) and search is flat (+1%), social’s 52% growth belies a greater opportunity.
- Mobile devices may replace traditional PCs, as indicated by the children growing up with smartphones and iPads in their hands, but whom have yet to touch a PC.
- The battlecry in social – for brands – is to connect people to resources beyond purely the brand’s products. According to Harrison, “Strategies in Silicon Valley are shifting from ‘pages’ to ‘people and social patterns.’ Connecting communities who search for the same items or have similar interests is the next phase of social. It opens virtual doors to do the things you are already doing.”
- Companies’ advertising efforts should focus on reaching customers at the point of commercial intent, which is defined as the point where identity meets relationship. This concept in particular is one that we would love additional context around, as it is not entirely clear exactly how a company identifies that point of intent within social (and specifically Facebook), where a user’s decisions/behavior are oftentimes not public, nor transparent.
- Social can achieve more than just ‘engagement.’ Your social strategy should support a key strategic (business) goal — one that social can amplify and impact. Brands need to identify a metric to vet it against. Your business goal, however, is the place to start.
- Create a truly integrated culture that marries the power of your offline network to the connectivity of digital. Share between the two.
- While you’re driving scale and growing your business opportunity, maintaining focus on the objective or mission you started with will be your biggest challenge. Keep that single-minded focus.
- With social media spend surpassing email marketing spend in 2012, media spend has shifted from ‘what’ to ‘who.’ Your priorities, says Harrison, should be to “Connect, Engage, Influence and Integrate (in that order).”