2011 Social Buzz Awards - Observations From The Judging Process

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What forecasts can we make about the near future of social media marketing based on reading and judging the hundreds of entries to the 2011 Social Buzz Awards? And what tips can be offered to the writers of future papers? One judge's personal view. Non-confidential content in advance of results being announced on December 1st 2011.

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  • Great round up and totally agree with dropping MEDIA - it juts focuses clients on the wrong thing - all for internal teams delivering the lions share of RELATIONSHIP work - agencies then have a role to deliver top line strategy, time bound campaigns, research and targeting etc.
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2011 Social Buzz Awards - Observations From The Judging Process

  1. 1. SOCIAL BUZZ AWARDS 2011 Observations from the judging process. Phil Adams – Planning Director www.blonde.net
  2. 2. <ul><li>Social Buzz Awards 2011 </li></ul><ul><li>The judging panel. </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Chris Jones – Social Media Manager, BBC </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Colin Gilchrist – Social Media Strategy Director, Digital Face </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Dave Coplin – Director of Search UK, Microsoft </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Paul Fabretti – Director of Digital Strategy, Origin Creative Design </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Rene Looper – Managing Director, Tuminds </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Zoe Macerlean – Social Media Manager, Tesco.com </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Jeff Coghlan – MD and owner, Matmi New Media Design </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Phil Adams – Planning Director, Blonde </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  3. 3. It was a privilege to be part of this panel and this process. The calibre of my fellow judges was such that I questioned my right to be there. And the cross-examination of the award entries during the day was an education. The papers themselves were revealing and enlightening on a number of levels. In advance of the results being announced here are some non-confidential observations on where branded social might be heading if the papers are a reliable barometer. I’ve also included some advice on how future entrants can give their papers the best chance of success.
  4. 4. If the Social Buzz award papers are an accurate barometer, what do they forecast? Photo credit : http://www.jjohnsonappraisals.com/pages_B/barometer.html
  5. 5. Forecast 1. The future of social is in-house. By and large, the in-house papers were stronger than the papers submitted by agencies. This is a huge sweeping generalisation and (remember there were hundreds of entries) there were many notable exceptions to this rule. There are several recurring themes behind this observation…
  6. 6. Forecast 1. The future of social is in-house. a) In-house entries were more likely to talk about long term programmes and platforms. Agency entries were more likely to focus on campaigns.
  7. 7. Forecast 1. The future of social is in-house. b) In-house entries tended to have more richness and depth, discussing issues such as establishing a social culture within the organisation, recruiting social people, technological integration, internal communication and infrastructure. Back end issues that are crucial to getting the front end right.
  8. 8. Forecast 1. The future of social is in-house. c) In-house entries were more likely to talk about hard commercial objectives and hard commercial results. Financial ROI was (much) more likely to feature in in-house papers.
  9. 9. Forecast 2. Demonstrating social ROI will be the big deal that everyone says it already is. If you follow the same Twitter profiles and read the same blogs as me you’ll already be aware of how important it is to set meaningful commercial objectives for, and measure meaningful commercial outcomes from, social programmes. Lots of people are talking about this but, “apparently”, a smaller subset are actually doing it…
  10. 10. Forecast 2. Demonstrating social ROI will be the big deal that everyone says it already is. Any purist will tell you that ROI is a financial measure. That anything other than a measurable increase in revenue/profit, or a measurable reduction in cost beyond the level of investment isn’t a true ROI. But plenty of social “gurus” will tell you that social isn’t about sales. Who is right?
  11. 11. Forecast 2. Demonstrating social ROI will be the big deal that everyone says it already is. On the basis of these papers, the purists are right and the gurus are copping out. Proper, financial ROI analysis of social activity can be done. And it is always more impressive than proxy “engagement” measures such as likes, views, comments, retweets and the like.
  12. 12. Forecast 2. Demonstrating social ROI will be the big deal that everyone says it already is. Setting the right objectives is critical. We saw some clever lateral thinking applied to how social initiatives might be able to solve commercial problems. This up front “why?” thinking paved the way to some impressive commercial results.
  13. 13. Forecast 2. Demonstrating social ROI will be the big deal that everyone says it already is. We saw evidence of social content, utility and conversations being applied to affect positive behavioural change – customer conversion, increased purchase values, increased levels of repeat purchase, b2c interactions being used as leverage in b2b negotiations, and other interesting indirect but deliberate uses of social interaction.
  14. 14. Forecast 2. Demonstrating social ROI will be the big deal that everyone says it already is. The bottom line for social ROI (see what I did there?) is that proxy measures of effectiveness won’t cut it for much longer, even if they cut it for now.
  15. 15. Forecast 3. Dropping the “media” from social media will liberate organisations to do better social work. Thinking about social media tends to focus the mind on technologies. Media = Facebook, YouTube, Twitter et al. Some of the best papers thought not about social media, but about how social behaviours could be encouraged and enabled to commercial effect. This more human approach to planning underpinned many of the best case studies.
  16. 16. Forecast 3. Dropping the “media” from social media will liberate organisations to do better social work. A specific example would be the popular concept of “fishing where the fish are”. This is an oft quoted rationale for engaging as much as possible on social networks, Facebook in particular, rather than your own website. That’s media thinking. And it’s effect tends to be measured in proxy terms – likes, follows etc. By contrast, behavioural thinking led some of the more impressive entrants to integrate social interaction with their e-commerce platforms. The effect of this approach was measured in £Sterling.
  17. 17. Forecast 4. Social will be a business model more than a marketing channel. On the evidence of these papers “being social” as a business model is a stronger, more effective, more sustainable platform than “using social” as a marketing channel. This goes (way) beyond using social channels for customer service.
  18. 18. Forecast 5. Brands won’t talk about their community unless they genuinely have a community. Community is the latest marketing word to be devalued by over-use and mis-use. Lots of entries to these awards talked about communities. Far fewer entries were able to demonstrate tangible communal behaviour or effect. 100,000 Facebook likes does not of itself a community make.
  19. 19. Quick thoughts on writing successful Social Buzz award papers. Photo credit : http://lolaadesioye.com/2011/07/29/why-i-got-bored-of-writing/
  20. 20. Tip 1. Make sure your objectives and your results are aligned. Should be obvious. Obviously isn’t.
  21. 21. Tip 2. It’s a numbers game. The clients that sign these papers off are sometimes coy about sharing what might be commercially sensitive numbers. That is perfectly understandable. But understand that, if this is the case, your paper will be significantly disadvantaged against those from less shy organisations.
  22. 22. Tip 3. It’s a hard numbers game. Big percentage shifts (in the right direction) are good. But in the absence of the cold, hard numbers behind them, big percentage shifts make judges suspicious. You say “increased by 237%”. We hear “from a very low base”.
  23. 23. Tip 4. Use client testimonials wisely. A platitudinous quote about how good the agency was and/or how pleased they were with the campaign doesn’t take anything away from your entry. But a sincere, specific endorsement of the importance of the project to their business can add a lot. Too many papers (clients) went through the motions in this section.
  24. 24. Tip 5. Presentation wasn’t as important as I thought it would be. There were some beautifully art-directed submissions that invited the reader in with their visual appearance. There were some clever entries where the storytelling was done entirely through the medium of video. There were interesting uses of applications like Storify to collate supporting material. But content really was king. The story really was all that mattered.
  25. 25. Tip 6. See slide 14.
  26. 26. SOCIAL BUZZ AWARDS 2011 Observations from the judging process. Phil Adams – Planning Director www.blonde.net

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