This past Friday, the 17th of January was the SAScon mini event sponsored by Melbourne Hosting. The mini conference acts as the warm up for the SAScon main event in summer, and despite its miniature nature, all seats  were occupied by execs and CEOs alike from PRs, Digital Agencies, Social Media agencies, and SEOs from across the north.

And we went to a few really neat talks, the first three I will talk about in part 1 the rest I’m talking about in Part II.

  1. State of digital PR nation
  2. Designing for PET
  3. How great ASDA is at social media
  4. A panel discussion on who does who does content better, SEOs, Social Media, or PR
  5. An SEO yelling about Google doesn’t follow its own rules.

State of the Digital PR Nation

The first talk of the conference was given by Drew Benie, founder of Battenhall who recounted his experiences with the disruption that social media has brought to PR over the recent years. Overall, his keynote broke down into 3 parts; What PR looks like now, How social media is changing things, and what is currently undergoing change and how.

Drew explained that the San Franscisco Chronicle is sending all its staff (not just journalists) on a 2 month social media boot camp—and that nothing like this is happening in the UK, because in the UK both business and media have yet to grasp how social media has democratised communication channels from customers and readers to business and journalists.

Social media provides transparent and accessible channels for customer services, reputation management, and marketing and promotions—with smart businesses using it to listen to their customers and using the feedback to improve their products and services; and publications using it to listen to businesses. Bloomberg follows all the FTSE100 on twitter and uses the feeds in their financial reporting.

However, businesses are terrible at recognising the impact of social media in regards to customer service and reputation management as most FTSE companies don’t have CEOs that tweet in time of crisis, and many FTSE companies don’t have authenticated twitter profiles.

Social media is a moving target, many of the programs and aps that are going to make an impact in 1-5 years time aren’t really on anyone’s radar at the moment. However, what’s making a spash now is photo sharing and messaging aps like Jelly and Snapchat, but eventual Drew forecast, wearable tech with strong data collection components (like fancy step counting anklets, etc.) will be massively important with regards to CRO.

The takeaway lesson: If you are a business and you aren’t on twitter, you need to be, and you need to take the time to get connected to your customers.

Designing for Persuasion, Emotion and Trust

Chris Bush talked quietly about PET (persuasion, emotion and trust) design for web pages—discussing what PET theory is, how it’s used and game us a few examples of how it’s used well, and not so well.

In terms of web pages, PET is used to describe a set of principles that encourage or discourage user behaviour, trigger emotional responses, and establish credibility in the website; and comes from a collision of marketing principles, market research, and social psychology. In the hopes that it will keep customers from abandoning their baskets.

Chris described PET as a complimentary component to web projects, motivating users to complete their purchase once they’ve found your site via SEO (or paid) and navigating your website.

To find out more check out his PDF Here

The takeaway lesson: You can use psychology and marketing to influence people through the checkout process to lessen thing like cart abandonment.

Dom Burch Talks about How Great ASDA is at Social Media

Dominic Burch is the Head of Social at ASDA and he talked about what a good job he’s doing. Marketers are really good at talking about themselves, so I can only assume that this is doubly true for marketers in social media. This would have been absolutely insufferable if not for the fact that, Dom is really good at his job, and as a result ASDA is doing a fantastic job with their social media, and anyone doing social media marketing should definitely sit up and take notice.

Dom’s Main Ideas:

  • The old rules don’t apply anymore This idea was similar to the first speakers in that social media has democratised communication channels. From Dom’s perspective however, he was speaking more from a position of brand exposure. Where a PR exec would spend £10k to get a press release picked up, Dom can do much more with social media channels, for less, and faster as long as these channels are developed properly.
  • We are media owners ‘We’ referring to businesses, who, now that we have a content platform effectively have editorial control that ‘we’ should develop talents for using.
  • We’re a connector not a collector Dom’s approach to growing ASDA’s social media platforms as been ‘slow, steady, and targeted wins the race’—as opposed to his competitors who all seemed to have the same mentality of ‘the most followers wins’ and there for tend to have little engagement, where as ASDA boast massive engagement from targeting its customers and their friends (and their friends).
  • Listen First, Engage Second, Influence Third This talk has come after 3 years at the helm of Social Media Manager, and Dom was generous enough to give us insight as to the development of his department. And surprise, it’s been done through trial and error; listening to what his customers have been saying, trying different ways to engage with them and then measuring what’s effective, and then using that information to better tailor a marketing (or PR) message in order to then direct the conversation.
  • The take away lesson: Avoid transactional social media marketing (i.e. giving away cookies for likes), it provides short term gains for loss of efficacy later on.

More in Part II

Posted in SEO on 21st Jan 2014