Please welcome this week’s 12 Questions Expert Spotlight guest, Punch Communications’ Head of Social Media, Bryn Foweather.
Bryn’s decade of marketing communications and social experience has enabled him to create and lead engaging integrated campaigns for global brands and influencers. Here are his answers to our 12 questions.
1. Which is your favourite social media platform, and why?
Tough question. I do love the way Facebook continually reinvents itself, albeit by robbery some of the time. I also laugh out loud at the made up stories by middle-aged men with not much else to do on LinkedIn.
But, I’d have to plump for Twitter, given that it’s a great source of conversation and deeper insight for my niche – marketing.
2. What social media platform is used most by your brand/agency?
Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, are used for the majority of clients. Although, we do use Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest for some clients – and some more niche platforms, for example, Reddit.
3. In your opinion, what is the future of social media and what platforms will lead the way?
We are hitting the first significant point in time where people are a little bit bored with social media and are starting to work out if it is really valuable to them.
The rate of innovation has slowed down considerably – especially since the formative years of social.
I think we will see more integration of different platforms fusing into something new in the future. Perhaps some sort of network that limits the content people can post, or maybe some paid for a subscription?
For this year, Augmented Reality is set to take off. Especially given its now available on Instagram / Facebook for brands. Other things to be aware of include the rise of 9:16 content and Tik Tok, which is making waves for younger audiences.
One last thing that’s also set to fly is interactive video. I think it will revolutionise video content for lots and lots of brands. It’s amazing how many brands still could do more video (+better). Interactive video can finally give video content an ROI, but importantly make it a better experience for the viewer.
4. Tell us about one social media campaign you liked most this year.
I love Burger King’s app – which uses AR functionality to turn competitors’ ads into coupons. This was for customers in Brazil.
I love the brazen / guerilla approach and competitive nature of lots of Burger King campaigns. It speaks to my roots as an ex-nightclub promoter. I often find that music promoters lead the way with tactics and optimisation hacks – they are always a good source of information as they generally have great content, but low budgets.
5. What about the latest campaign your brand or agency was involved in?
We have a great project live for Barclaycard. Essentially, we’re taking a fly-on-the-wall, worldwide video tour of Barclaycard offices, and showcasing the diverse and eccentric people that work for the brand, that help to make their payment products some of the most innovative and sophisticated in the world, while also getting to know more about their city.
We’re also creating AR pop-ups of employees so that they can be in the exact location for a latter part of the campaign.
6. What is the most important thing brands and agencies need to keep in mind, in order to build a successful social media campaign?
Insight – a real human insight that can spark the campaign! Not a data point and of course, a strategic plan.
7. In your opinion, what is the most important KPI you look for to determine success on social media?
The KPI question is always one that sparks great debate. In my view, there are generally three distinct categories: engagement, ROAS and brand lift. They all speak to different people. Engagement is the truth in detail, deep down in the trenches with the content guys and social teams! Important to understand what works and to do more of it.
ROAS is perceived as being more hard-hitting but sometimes does not tell you the whole story.
Brand lift metrics can help understand sentiment (albeit with a bias on social platforms), volume of mentions for a campaign, and of course recall.
They seem very in vogue at the moment. In reality, all three categories are clear indicators of success and should be working together, rather than separate entities, or one thing trumps another. The issue is that they all appeal to different people, and there can be a lack of understanding or empathy across the measurement disciplines.
Of the specific KPIs – if people are sharing your content, that’s got to be good, right?
8. What will be the role of social media in the marketing mix of the future?
Of course, it’s got a huge role to play. The platforms are working on how best to add value to their users and to stay relevant. They know that they need to do this.
Social seems to work better in my experience in the awareness phase, for that brand building piece. However, the direct sales activation elements of social media have developed significantly – for example, with s-commerce.
9. What would you say the biggest obstacle faced in social media?
The backlash of people and users + content shock.
We are experiencing a bad moment for platforms and social media in general. There has been too much misuse and misinformation on platforms, and people are right, sceptical and want change – particularly to protect people.
There is also a hell of a lot of content, and poor content at that, which does switch people off because they can’t get to the stuff that is useful.
It’s a bit like we’ve had the whirlwind romance, and we’ve hit a rocky patch. Networks have got to change, and rekindle the reasons why people liked them in the first place.
10. What is one piece of advice you would give someone just starting in the industry?
Read. Read about marketing. Read about strategy, understand that social media is part of marketing, not all of marketing. Set up a side-hustle or use the platforms to talk about an interest or a hobby. It keeps you updated with how to use the platforms.
11. In your opinion, what ad format will lead the future of social media marketing?
The basic premise is that people want to get customers and but furthermore get said customers to their website – to go and do things. What has happened is that social networks have developed a specific set of products that sit in the middle of this activity and act as a bridge.
Things like the Facebook Canvas, which is designed to overcome issues with slow loading websites, but is creatively solving a problem for brands.
What will see in the future is more frictionless activity – such as the recently announced Instagram feature that allows users to shop in the platform.
12. Finally, what is a ‘Fun Fact’ we wouldn’t find on your social media profiles?
I was once county champion for the 200m!
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