Things we learned at #SocialMatters HK 2014

HONG KONG - The third Hong Kong edition of Social Matters by Branded and [email protected] took place yesterday at the Grand Hyatt and featured the likes of Vine-celebrity Zach King, True Blood and Friends writer and producer Brian Buckner; and Alex Light, head of content at Vice Australia.

Social Matters 2014. Photo by Branded's Jasper Donat
Social Matters 2014. Photo by Branded's Jasper Donat

Here are some of the things we learned from the onslaught of 19 sessions (not including the times Thomas Crampton, global MD of [email protected], took the stage).

To achieve fame, even six-second videos take a lot of work

It takes King, who has 1.4 million followers on Instagram, an average of six hours of work to put together a successful six-second Vine clip. He also tracks the performance of his clips meticulously, conducting A-B tests and monitoring the ideal time of day to post his videos.


Young consumers have bullshit detectors

[email protected]'s Fergus Hay (left) interviewing Brian Buckner

At least two speakers urged advertisers present not to underestimate their audiences. “Young people have advanced bullshit detectors,” said Light, adding that the challenge is to create value for their lives. To do so, brands need alternative ways to engage their audiences.

Buckner too pointed out that product placement hasn’t worked particularly well. “Viewers are savvy to when they’re being manipulated,” he said.

Bottom line: When it comes to content marketing, said Dan Sloan, editor-in-chief of the Nissan Global Media Center, the content must be interesting. “At least to the people who make them,” he laughed.


The 70/20/10 principle

Pratik Thakar (left) and Fergus Hay (again)

Coca-Cola has the above rule as a KPI for “everyone”, said Pratik Thakar, VP Asia-Pacific creative and content excellence. The rule dictates that 70 per cent of one's jobs is to market Coca-Cola’s products and brands, 20 per cent is to introduce something new to Coke and 10 per cent is to introduce something new to the world. “It’s not just a poster that hangs on our wall,” Thakar said. Part of this process is to take the risk of letting YouTubers play around with their products to show Coke employees something that they don’t know they don’t know. 


The ROI of social media marketing is less important than the ROI of not doing it

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The social graph that led to Microsoft's enlightenment

“What is the ROI of wearing your pants to work everyday? I know the ROI of not doing it,” pointed out SocialBakers’s APAC VP Simon Trilsbach, quoting Scott Monty (formerly Ford Motors’ head of social media, now EVP of strategy at Shift Communications).  

Andrew Pickup, senior director of communications for Microsoft Asia concurred. “ROI to me is, if I put a dollar in how much can I get back? Predictably and reliably. I think social media is too nascent.” But social media is the ‘canary in the coal mine’, and brands ignore it at their own peril, Pickup added. Microsoft monitors social-media sentiment, and around the launch of the XBoxOne at E3 2013 realised that consumers really hated the new policies it had implemented dictating that the box had to be online 24 hours and that users could not share games. So in reaction, Microsoft reversed both policies. “And now we’ve overtaken Sony Playstation in the USA,” said Pickup.


When social media is measured, shareability outranks likes and followers

Kunal Jeswani, chief digital officer, Ogilvy India interviews Vodafone's Mitra

“The true test of engagement is if a fan is prepared to share your content,” said Ronita Mitra, SVP of brand communication and insights for Vodafone India. “We place a lot of value on shareabilty.”

Socialbakers’ Trilsbach agreed that the metrics of social media have evolved away from follower-numbers. “We now recommend interactions, similar to Vodafone’s focus on shareability.”


Marketing is psychology war!

So says Milan Chiang of VeryTechnology


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