Yaffe Center Social Media panel 2014

When you can gather key insights from the likes of Google, Facebook, Twitter, Adobe, Digitas and Dominos Pizza, it's a great day. And that day was last Friday at the 6th annual Social Media Workshop at the Yaffe Center for Persuasive Communications at the University of Michigan. A large group of us attended the day long event and here are some of the insights we found fascinating.

Cory Edwards Adobe1. Your average employee is more likely to be more socially relevant to consumers than your CEO, especially in the trust factor – according to recent info from the Edelman Trust Index. This tidbit came from Cory Edwards from Adobe. People want to connect with a person who represents what the brand is, more than connect with a company. In fact, Adobe found that their employee's social page was generating more revenue than their official Adobe page. This lead them to the conclusion that what they needed was more such advocates. And they shifted their social focus, based on this insight.

The Adobe shift in social strategy was to move from conversation and relationships with the brand to engaging and empowering employees as brand ambassadors.They developed a social training program for employees and encouraged them to be active in the social channels. Now they find that 22% of their B2B leads have been touched by Adobe's social efforts and that those prospects are twice as likely to buy. Having employee ambassadors gives them a wider base of touchpoints with a higher trust factor.

Ryan Stonehouse - Google2. Goggle is using their data to spot trends and help brands develop products and strategies around them. Ryan Stonehouse from Google talked about how this digital world of marketing isn't just about media any more. It's about spotting trends and gaining insights for brands. Using these insights, they're able to tell when a trend looks like it will be big and last long enough to be worth creating a product to fulfill demand in the marketplace. He used the development of Greek yogurt and Ombre hair products as examples.

3. Say hello to "Hygiene Content" – the latest in content marketing for brands. Also part of Stonehouse's talk was the idea of hygiene content – that when consumers show up online and want to know something about your brand, you are there with content that meets their needs. Hygiene is creating a platform for your audience's needs. Being there when you need to be for them is critical. 

To help develop Hygiene Content, Google has started analyzing YouTube comments in real time to help marketers better engage and provide better content that meets the needs of their customers at the moment they want it. Brands can optimize real-time data to increase brand awareness and brand recall. The entire idea is all about the importance of creating good content online, being available to audiences in the space and accessible to answer questions. Otherwise you’re losing an opportunity to connect with customers and further cement brand loyalty. You must make sure, however, that you are creating good content that is tied in with the goals and strategies you've set for the brand.. 

Matt Curd - Facebook4. You can target customers through Facebook in three ways: native data, brand data and look-alike data. Matt Curd of Facebook talked about how they have become a platform that lets brands target customers and potential customers with a high degree of accuracy. Native data is the data users put in through their own social channels. Brand data is the data the brand brings into the equation, mixing that data with the native data gives you even better results. And finally, look-alike data is taking the data of your customers and finding other prospective customers whose data looks very similar (for instance they listen to the same bands on Spotify). I know this works, because we've used all three methods for our clients here at Yaffe.

5. Brands and well-chosen influncers should "Co-create Content" to get the best results. Robert Guay and Lindsay Sutton from Digitas said that you use custom content to create relationships and influencers to build trust. They bring together different kinds of influencers to create a cohesive brand message. Co-creation is the process where brands come together with content creators and create something that resonates with both their communities (the brand's and the influencers'). 

Robert Guay & Lindsay Sutton - DigitasSutton had a great example of this for their client Harley Davidson. Their core demographic is old white guys who ride motorcycles. It's a demo that is going to die out. So they needed to grow share among younger adults. They did this by selecting influencers who had strong influence with younger adults on Twitter, with lots of regular engagement and interaction. Digitas reached out to them and planned a cross country adventure in which they could tweet about their journey and experience. The agency gave them the bikes and created an experience that would resonate with the chosen influencers and lead to positive comments and interactions their communities would be following. The key was in selecting the right brand ambassadors and creating the best environment that would lead to organic promotion of the product.

6. The mobile feed is the new portal. It's where brands are now battling it out. That tidbit also came out of the Digitas presentation, but almost all the speakers touched on the growing influence of mobile. Here are some of the best tidbits of the bunch: 65% of all videos watched every day are on mobile devices. 66% of mobile users have tweeted while watching TV.  Being "on-brand" on mobile is about content and being in the moment that's actually happening now. All of the media consumption growth is coming from mobile, and more specifically mobile apps. An average consumer unlocks their phone 110 times a day. 

Twitter and TV7. Adding Twitter to your TV buy adds increased recall and intent to buy. Matt Derella from Twitter cited a study they've done with Nielsen that showed TV watchers who use Twitter while watching have a 14% higher purchase intent than those not on Twitter. They also saw an 11% lift in brand favorability. It’s about connecting with people in real-time, in what’s trending now. They see Twitter as a tool that can work in tandem with other mediums like TV. 

All in all, it was a great day of inspirations and insights. Amber Gadsky from Dominos Pizza was the final speaker and had some great stories and insights into how they have jumped into social with both feet. I look forward to next year's workshop, as The Yaffe Center and Ross School of Business have brought in great speakers every year who speak on the very latest trends and how they affect our industry. Hope to see you there, too!

Mike McClureMike McClure, Yaffe Social Media Director, with the help of Heather Pence and Jen Wright

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