Five More Lessons From SXSW 2013

1. Trust Is The New Social Glue

  • As social media marketers, we often ask how we can draw clients to our products and help them complete a purchase. This weekend at SXSWi, I found the answer: trust. The power of social media is that it connects people with your company and allows people to get to know you. People trust their friends more than a stranger because they know them. Social media is now the medium that lets you build that connection and level of trust.

 Bottom line: If you allow consumers to know what you value, they will trust you.

                                                                                                                        

2. Mobile is the Hub Of Brand Experience

  • The last five years have seen an explosion in smartphone use. With this explosion there has been a shift in brand experience. Today, consumers experience your company on their phones more than anywhere else. Did you know that 65% shopping starts on a smartphone? When your consumer is on the go it’s important to make sure you are with them because loyalty now lives in their pocket. We’ve seen this first-hand with the app we helped develop for our client, D&M Leasing.

Bottom line: Finding your way into a potential customers pocket will give you new opportunities for business.

                                                                                                                         

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The Uncertain Future of Facebook Graph Search

The much buzzed-about Facebook Graph Search is getting closer to its wide release. And although its development is progressing, there are plenty of questions still to be answered about how successful it can be.

For those that don’t know, Facebook Graph Search is a search engine within Facebook that allows users to “cross-reference” people with places, interests, likes, activities, etc. The goal, as Facebook puts it, is to “discover fun connections between people, places and things.” For marketers, this means defining a target market even further in order to find their ideal consumers and cater to them.

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All of That Sounds Great – But Will it Work?

Last week, a panel of experts at SXSW Interactive discussed Graph Search and its future. The most pressing concern was that as of now, its usability is way off. At the moment, it’s too difficult to navigate and find what you’re looking for. The full version won’t be released to everyone for another 6-12 months. At that point, it should be easier conduct searches. Then we will see a wider implementation of the service.

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There are a lot of questions that need to be asked since Graph Search is still young in its development. 

  • Will it become pervasive?
  • Will the masses use it?
  • Is there a real need for it?
  • How will it work with the new News Feed?
  • Is there an interest from consumers to see brand conversations?
  • Will the fact that people aren’t completely honest online affect its usability?
  • How will graph search sort content that is in image form?

 

What We Know Today

These questions, and many more, will ultimately be answered when Graph Search is fully functional. But from early testing, a few things have become clear.

  1.  This feature will be most useful in its mobile functionality. Targeting users based on their current location will be the easiest information to find  consumers. Catering to customers based on their current location will promote moment-by-moment targeting. Marketers can also use this information to study consumer’ habits and tailor their campaigns to meet those needs.
  2.  Graph Search should help to increase engagement. Once marketers have learned more about their consumers, users should be given more accurate and relevant content. In turn, this should encourage engagement and place a stronger emphasis on communicating with consumers. These increased conversations should then drives sales. 

Going Forward

Tell us what you think! Will you try Graph Search for your own personal use and benefit? Would you use it to connect with people who have similar interests?

Lessons Learned from SXSW 2013

The South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive festival in Austin, TX has emerged as one of the leading annual conferences for digital and social media experts and enthusiasts. Thousands of attendees from across the United States and all over the world gathered over the weekend to attend hundreds of sessions that covered a wide range of topics. New trends emerged, new thought leaders hit the scene, new marketing techniques were revealed, and new best practices were established.

But like everything in life, all good things must come to an end. Here is what we will always remember about SXSW Interactive 2013.

 

1. Visions of an Innovative Future 

Amidst the chaos and all the huge parties, there were actually many meaningful conversations about what’s in store for the future. Google’s search guru Amit Singhal told us that the future of Google search is to become a ‘Star Trek’ computer that will anticipate what users search for.

“These are some of the best times in search,” Singhal said. “All the technology is coming together: speak recognition, knowledge graph, natural language understanding — there are new devices coming out, so when you marry all this, tomorrow is looking bright.”

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2. Real-Time Marketing

We were able to use real-time marketing to constantly monitor social media channels for trends about SXSW, and then quickly act on insights to get included in the conversation. This helped in the relevancy of marketing by allowing our brand to reach the right audience at the right time with the right message in the right location.

Between live-tweeting during sessions and events, and posting photos and updates to our Facebook page, we noticed a significant impact in new followers, retweets, faved tweets and new ‘likes’.

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3. Facebook Graph Search Isn’t Doing Much…Yet

Still in beta, the implications of Facebook Graph Search for marketers remain largely unknown because so few people are using it and no one really knows how people are going to react to it and how they might use it once it’s opened up for widespread use. About half of the people who attended the session about this topic actually use Graph Search, and less than one-third of those individuals found it to be useful.

Predictions from the panel suggest that Graph Search is a huge opportunity for marketers in the next six to 12 months, but that it still has a long way to go before there are any immediate benefits for the consumer.

 

4. Marketing Madness 

It’s no secret that SXSW is a haven for marketers and advertisers looking to make more people aware of their companies and products. But a tent and a sign don’t exactly cut it. Some companies went all out (or they certainly tried to) with some fairly crazy marketing stunts.

Hootsuite put together an owl bus and had it rolling through downtown Austin.

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And Central Desktops had a man dressed up as an angel wearing a tutu, who was rocking out during the Interactive Trade Show on Monday morning. These are just a couple of the bizarre stunts we saw during SXSW, but the list definitely went on.

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5. Humans Aren’t the Only Celebrities

Besides the fact that Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk was the biggest name among keynote speakers, there was also Shaquille O’Neal, Google search guru Amit Singhal and Guy Kawasaki to make the list even more impressive.

However, the biggest celebrity at SXSW 2013 wasn’t even part of the official interactive programming – it was in fact viral Internet star Grumpy Cat, who posed for photos in the Mashable House and drew lines of fans around the block.

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So why did people wait in line for up to three hours to see Grumpy Cat? Simple. It’s because everyone else was waiting in line. The “fear of missing out” is a persistent phenomenon, where every decision to attend something is usually a decision not to attend several other compelling options. Despite the fear, people gravitate toward what they think will be most memorable, and most social.

If I wasn’t deathly allergic to cats then maybe, just maybe I would have waited in line to pet this famous feline – ok, let’s be honest. I wouldn’t have regardless.

Social Media Marketing – More Than Just PR

Anyone who says you can’t measure social media is wrong. There, I said it.

But before the social media purists start preaching about how relationships can’t be measured, let me first say that I measure more than just happy thoughts and warm, fuzzy feelings.

The purists in this industry strictly believe that social media in the business world is just a public relations tool and is all about human interaction and emotions. Their motto is: listen, join and engage – but that’s only part of the formula. What about planning strategically, driving business and measuring social media efforts?

At dr2marketing, we take traditional social media one step further and developed an innovative formula to drive new and qualified leads in any market. When you add the word “marketing” to the phrase “social media”, you’re talking about business. So, our social media marketing services are designed to generate leads, which drives results. (It sounds like a crazy concept, but our clients seem to like it.)

How do we do it?

We harmonize multiple disciplines – brand research, marketing strategy, campaign execution, and analytics to capture the psychology of behavior. The result? A highly relevant brand that drives the marketplace reaction toward your business demands.

We participate in the daily chit-chat while carving out clear calls to action for our clients’ business purpose – whether it’s acquiring customers, optimizing existing relationships, or converting consumers into advocates.

A common misconception is that social media success is directly related to being personal and authentic. Well, that’s not entirely true. In actuality, social media success is attributed to hyper-targeting key messages. What’s the point in talking back and forth with people who don’t care about your brand, product or service? Every client is different, so every message, audience and circumstance should be different as well.

The proof that social media can be used as more than just a public relations tool comes from D&M Leasing – the largest consumer car leasing company in the nation, and one of our biggest clients.

In February 2013, D&M Leasing spent $877 on a targeted Facebook campaign to the surrounding cities of the Dallas-Fort Worth area about vehicle leasing opportunities. The result? 266 qualified leads from Facebook alone. Holy lead generation. To make this even sweeter, their lowest cost-per-lead source in the last year has been social media, hands down.

As Jason Falls wrote on Social Media Explorer:

Optimal communication takes place when a marketer can deliver a relevant message to a relevant audience in a relevant location at a relevant time.

So, to all the social media purists out there – I get it. You’re genuinely interested in “joining the conversation” and you’re good at it. Let me know how it works out when you tell your client that the professional benefit of your services isn’t direct, nor is it trackable, but that they should rest assured – it’s there.

Photo credits: Mark Smiciklas