Social media & the death of the desktop


Social media’s impact and opportunity on retail marketing…

In April we joined the Engage 2013 conference by Social Bakers. Big brands discussed big topics, covering key aspects of social marketing. From the bleedin’ obvious (we wanted reminding about) to new insights, here are our top 10 take-outs from the day.


‘The average person looks at their phone 150 times a day’ – Bruce Daisley, Director of Twitter in the UK. Doesn’t that say it all? ‘38% of daily media interactions occur on a smartphone’ – so why are so many brands failing to create powerful mobile sites? M-commerce is reshaping the whole industry: people care less and less about their desktops, so having a mobile version of your site is becoming non-optional.

(We’re still left wondering if e-stores optimised for tablets are e-commerce, m-commerce or a third variant?)



It was the natural disaster of the 2010 ash cloud that really changed the game for social media, forcing airlines into managing customers through their social platforms. Speaking for KLM, Social Marketing and Co-Branding Manager Lionel Lassalle shared their three leading social principles: 1. Service is sales, 2. Be cool to hang out with, and 3. Don’t push: create stuff worth sharing. And we couldn’t agree more.

Here’s how KLM tell it on their blog: KLM and the ash cloud.

Jan Rezab, CEO and co-founder of Social Bakers, predicts that ‘In 2013, a company (and a big one) will go bankrupt solely because of social media.’ Don’t wait for the next ash cloud. Embrace social media, rather than ignore it. Your customers are already way ahead of you.


Before you can develop and translate your social strategy, you need to define who you are. Paul Papadimitriou, the founder of Digital Intelligence, suggests that you ask: ‘What is our DNA?’

Your website is a map, and you have to choose what you display, and how. It’s said that ‘a badly organised website usually mirrors a badly organised company.’ As mobile begins to reshape the whole industry, we have to think even more about ‘Who are you?’ What you create on a mobile site is the ‘essence’ of who you are, what you stand for and what benefits you provide to your customers.


‘If you don’t have a good story to tell, even millions of dollars of advertising spending won’t help your brand’. Enon Landenberg, VP of Commercial Marketing on SpaceIL and co-founder of Publicis E-Dologic, used the case study of @Big_Ben_Clock. With over 420,000 followers and following no-one, Big Ben is a case study in creative thinking that led to 24 hour a day BONGs!

To provide good content, you ‘ultimately need to become a production company’ – Jan Rezab of Social Bakers. A brand doesn’t just want your attention, but ‘wants the attention of your 140 friends (on average)’, says Jeremy Waite, Head of Social Strategy at Adobe. So if a brand creates good content and ‘you share it with your friends and they share it with theirs, that’s 19,600 people who have viewed it. In theory, within 4 generations, one piece of content can be seen by 2.7 million people’ (Waite). ‘It’s the only area of business where you don’t need to outspend your competitors in order to beat them’. That is the power of social.

Do remember, it’s no good pushing out great content to a community and then walking away. You need to continue to engage.


And here’s the* We have a watch out: as we increasingly acknowledge content is king, resist publishing the uninteresting, the poorly written and the irrelevant. Wallpaper founder Tyler Brule took a hard line on this in a recent London Evening Standard interview: Is content the new C word?


There is a strong correlation between conversation and sales. ‘Twitter campaigns have been found to be nine times more effective than traditional advertising for driving sales’ – Bruce Daisley of Twitter. This excited us very much and we’re asking for the insight/stats behind this.

Brands can now target potential consumers via conversations with adverts linked to keywords. Capture the moment, focus your ads on people’s interests and preferences and you will increase engagement. Remember, a ‘social business is 26% more profitable than a conservative business’ – Andrew Grill, CEO of Kred.


‘It is now critical that brands not only respond, but respond quickly’ – Jan Rezab of Social Bakers. ‘Today 60% of questions on brands’ Facebook pages are answered, up from 5% in 2011’. It has been found that the quicker brands respond, the more interactions they get. This means they’re doing what customers want! To give customers real value, ‘a brand must respond in 1 hour and solve within 9 hours’ – Lionel Lassalle of KLM.

Brands no longer have the choice of whether to use social media for customer service: customers are forcing them into it. ‘To truly be a social brand, you have to always be on’ – Maeve O’Sullivan, Content Director at Headstream.


During the week of the conference, Nationwide’s online banking went down three times. Customers flocked to Twitter to find out what was going on – only to find customer questions are answered between 9 and 5 (and there are only 3,000 followers for the UK’s largest building society!)


‘98.6% Like a brand page but never return’ – Jeremy Waite of Adobe. You need to understand why. ‘Just because you can measure something is social, doesn’t mean you should’. ‘Starbucks measure five things: Who, What, Why, When and Where. If you understand these five insights about your customers, then you will be in a much better place to drive content, content strategy and how to deliver the right message at the right time. Don’t be seduced by measuring everything.’


‘Social media is not a platform anymore, it’s core to our business’ – Lionel Lasalle of KLM. Social media should be a layer within your organisation, not a team in a department. Educate the top management and rebuild your company around it.

Jeremy Waite of Adobe gave the great example of Vodafone, one of the most valuable brands in the UK at the moment: ‘They decided that social media was too important to leave to the marketing team. So they created a virtual team whose sole purpose was to create conversation strategy. They got five representatives from each main department (customer service, operation, sales, digital and commercial) and each one was accountable for an area of social media. Each one of those five has a different agenda, but come together with a common purpose.’ The output of this is that they have five different KPIs and are all looking to drive different things.



Deleting negative feedback only amplifies the problem. ‘Don’t delete it, deal with it’ – Jan Rezab of Social Bakers. Rezab gave the case study of H&M, who learnt the hard way. As soon as they deleted negative feedback, more popped up. Don’t fall into this trap. Once published, always published.


‘Brands usually spend 3-5% of their marketing budget on social media. The most successful brands spend between 12-25%. Burberry are a great example; they spend about 50% of their brand communications budget on digital, and about half of that is social. That’s about 4 times what brands normally spend’ – Jeremy Waite of Adobe.

Need help with your social media strategy? – let’s talk.

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