6 top takeaways from the Brands Talk Social Media #SocialPro keynote

Social media strategists from HTC, Microsoft, Docusign and Pabst Brewing talk about when it's right to trendjack, when to adopt the latest social platform and more.

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When it comes to social media #fails, brands have to expect the worst. “Mistakes will happen even if you have protocols in place,” said Caitlin Angeloff, Head of Global Social Strategy and Operations at Docusign, during today’s Brands Talk Social Media keynote at Marketing Land’s Social Pro conference. Paul Meyers, the Director of Digital Marketing for Pabst Brewing, echoed that sentiment when he told the audience that some mistakes are bound to happen. “We have a process in place, but my team is five people and we’re dealing with 30 accounts that we manage.”

Social media fails were just one of the many topics that Marketing Land’s Tim Peterson discussed with the panel, which also included Karianne Stinson, Marketing Manager at Microsoft, and Ef Rodriguez, HTC’s Director of Global Social. Below is a collection of some of the great quotes and takeaways on a variety of hot-button social media topics that the panel covered during today’s keynote.

1) Instagram ads

Karianne Stinson, Microsoft: “You have to think of Instagram as an awareness platform, top of the funnel. If you’re expecting people to buy from Instagram, I don’t think we’re there yet. I don’t think people on Instagram are gonna buy a Surface or a smartphone (from an Instagram ad).”

Ef Rodriquez, HTC: “We don’t do much with Instagram ads because it doesn’t offer the targeting we need. I need hard working, click-based CTAs and I can get that better on Facebook.”

2) Role of social media

Caitlin Angeloff, Docusign: “When you think of all the functions of social media, you think about the customer lifecycle. Sales is one part of that, but social media plays a part in every stage of the customer lifecycle.”

Paul Meyers, Pabst: “We don’t do billboards. We don’t do traditional TV spots. Social media is where we talk to consumers. One of our brands is Not Your Father’s Root Beer. There was a lot of consumer demand for us to launch that in people’s hometowns, but we’re limited in what we’re allowed to say about availability. So we had to wait for retailers and consumers to spread the word about when it was available in their area.”

3) Snapchat

Angeloff: “We’re testing Snapchat. Consumers have started to notice that we’re there. We have one staffer, Laurel, who’s learning it and training our team, and when that platform is proven, we’ll take it our more widely to our company. If we can prove that a channel works, we can fight for more headcount. We can say, this channel is more time-consuming, we need a dedicated person. Snapchat is very different — you can’t repurpose content for that channel.”

4) Social video

Rodriguez: “Everyone has a video offering — even companies who shouldn’t have one have a video offering. People want video content. The fact that there are YouTube stars making a career out of YouTube is proof of that. I can’t say enough about video; none of us should be able to say enough about video because there’s so much out there.”

Stinson: “I like video, but I hope we don’t go to all video. We still need a mix — video isn’t right for every story every time. It’s still going to be a big push and it’s the gateway to VR/AR and that’s going to get bigger.”

Meyers: “For 360 video, it’s important that you captivate your audience. If you’re just toying with 360, make sure that you’re really interested. I think there’s going to be a lot of terrible brand video produced in VR.”

Stinson: “Our first XBOX Facebook Live video was just Major Nelson talking. It doesn’t have to be highly produced; it’s just people talking in the moment.”

Angeloff: “Don’t treat live video any different than other video you create. Have a storyboard, think about the experience that you want your live video to look like.”

5) Trendjacking

Stinson: “There’s so much risk with it. I think it has to have something to do with your brand. Like, I saw so many brands jumping on National Donut Day recently, but you have to be really selective because it can make you look really uncool.”

Rodriguez: “We’re a hardware manufacturer based in Taiwan; we can’t lose sight of that. We know we’re not well known in the USA. People don’t know what our initials stand for. We don’t have a Super Bowl budget. We’re not super fresh, and we don’t have street cred or skate cred like Vans. So not all of the trends happening on Twitter are appropriate for us. [If you trendjack], don’t lose sight of how this is going to come across to someone who’s not going to give you the benefit of the doubt.”

Angeloff: “I see times when brands should be part of the conversation, but a lot of times it looks like they’re elbowing their way into the dinner table. For example, Microsoft and LinkedIn are both customers of ours and both are huge users of Docusign’s product. Had we been a little more nimble, I would’ve encouraged us to go out and ride that wave of conversation [when the acquisition was announced]. We have multiple areas where we would’ve been relevant and we could’ve trendjacked. Would it have been successful? I don’t know, but the data would’ve told us.”

6) Adopting new social channels

Stinson: “I signed up for Ello. I signed up for Peach. But I didn’t sign up my brands for those. If you’re in this room, you need to be on Snapchat at least personally. Our executives look to us to answer when they ask things like, Should we be on Snapchat?”

Meyers: “We weren’t on Snapchat when it first came out because it was really weird. We’re primarily using Snapchat now with geofilters around 21-and-over venues.”

Angeloff: “Snapchat is an emerging channel. We’d have to get way more adoption to say it’s worthy of continued investment. When we put a URL in a snapchat story, we do see a spike of traffic. The biggest thing is the toolsets — we don’t have to decide when something’s proven, it’s when the platform opens up an API and the toolsets can begin to support them.”

Meyers: “I put Old Milwaukee on Tinder three years ago. In Austin, there are three bars that sell Old Milwaukee. I put the beer on Tinder as a female interested in males and the account directed the guys to the three bars. Tinder shut that down in about an hour.”

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

About the author

Matt McGee
Matt McGee joined Third Door Media as a writer/reporter/editor in September 2008. He served as Editor-In-Chief from January 2013 until his departure in July 2017. He can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee.

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