This year’s Social Media Week theme ‘Closer’ set out to examine the escalating tension between individualism and community, and speakers joined together to shed light on three big themes: The You Universe, The Social Divide, and AI vs. Humanity. Each theme came with a major underlying question:
1: The You Universe
How can businesses deliver custom experiences without isolating the consumer?
Engage in Relatable Interactions: Once aspirational, now brands are trying more than ever to be approachable through social. Whether it’s 1:1 community management or sharing culturally relevant messaging that’s meaningful to a target audience vs. a broad general community, it’s important that brands connect with customers in a personal way.
Activate Influencers: Digital influencers are some of the most trusted voices to consumers. These influencers can be seen as experts in their specialized vertical, an intriguing individual, or a person relatable to an audience. Influencers open up authentic conversations with their communities. When a brand collaborates with influencers, selected influencers help the brand integrate itself into important conversations, while speaking directly (and authentically) to a specific audience segment.
Listen to the Audience / Don’t Misuse Data: Responsible social listening provides strategic support before, during, and after a social campaign; this collection of insights is vital to a campaign’s success. It’s important to pay attention to how the audience engages with content and optimize content in real-time in order to ensure the audience feels heard. Most importantly, it is absolutely essential to be responsible with the usage of collected data.
2: The Social Divide
How can technology be used to unite people rather than divide?
Leverage Social to Combat Bullying: Anti-bullying movements of the past have been reactive. Instead, social can be used as a platform for preventative messaging. Since it’s not always easy for individuals to speak out, it is a brand’s responsibility to be the voice of diversity, demand change on social platforms, and challenge societal norms.
Advocate Authenticity: Social media has blurred the lines between brands, everyday people and influential creators. Within social, there is an expectation for a brand to participate in conversations. As brands navigate how to take a stance on their beliefs, it is important to remember that internet communities will keep them in check. If a brand is going to take a stand on a real-time trending discussion, the brand must be prepared with a succinct strategy to support themselves and their stance.
Utilize Livestreaming: Live content creation allows audience members to participate in the outcome of the production. Specifically, on Twitch, users will engage in the content and stir up conversation, giving each viewer a voice so every participant feels involved. Partnering with a seasoned livestreaming host is ideal to ensure a successful outcome.
3: AI vs. Humanity
What can be done to ensure that AI lifts the quality of life for all humans?
Leverage Chatbots With Care: Big Data and AI technology are developing the customer experience through Messenger (and other services) so that brands can keep up with their evolving individual preferences in an efficient way. This method of communication will only continue to grow as Facebook recently launched a Messenger plugin which will allow brands to further integrate through their own services. While chatbots can be used as a tool for seamless customer service, chatbots can also create legal and ethical challenges that are still being examined. At present time, a human element is needed in order to provide a checks and balances system for chatbots.
Use AI to Create Personalized Content: Multiple Social Media Week panelists encouraged audiences to look at AI as a tool to compliment humans’ abilities to process text and social metadata. Where humans can control the big picture and determine the strategic and creative content approach, AI can analyze massive internet datasets, learn audience interests, and create personalized content at scale. The opportunity for AI is tremendous in the social media world; however, it is our responsibility as marketers to leverage this technology in a non-invasive manner in order to maintain trust with consumers.
About Edelman Digital
Edelman Digital is the digital advisory and integrated marketing arm of the world’s largest communications marketing firm. Our global staff, in over 65 offices worldwide, is built to manage the complexity of modern marketing and online reputation, using a data-driven social-first storytelling approach designed to deliver real-time business results. We believe in exploring future-forward technology to advance the stories we tell. The output of our work delivers experiences that transform culture, reputation and relationships to inspire real-world action between brands and consumers.