Social Media Week Vancouver: Secrets to a Social Media Campaign

After 2 days of general talks about blogging and social media, I attended a more marketing-oriented talk given by Matt Astifan of WebFriendly about the structure and nature of a good social media campaign. He was helped by Mack Flavelle and Danny Bradbury.

While not exactly a marketing person, I am currently working on developing a social media and blogging strategy for Molives, an Australian hand-stuffed olives producer. (The beauty of the web as defined at Social Media 101 yesterday: you can work with people from all over the world!) So I thought that attending this talk would help me figure out what kind of things I need to do for a successful campaign.

Matt started off with the (not so) startling fact that there was more content recorded in 2009 than in the entire history of mankind. Puts my literary background in perspective, that’s for sure!

Here’s a short overview of this 2-hour talk with all the main points.

Matt Astifan

Secret 1: Personal interactions

One great thing about social media is that it enables people to connect directly to brands. Let them use their pictures (like with JibJab) or tweet questions and requests (like with the Old Spice Guy Twitter videos).

People like to know that they make an impact and are listened to. They also like to see themselves reflected in online interactions.

Secret 2: Mobile marketing

There’s no need to expand on the current use of mobile Internet. It’s huge. There are three things you can use to maximize on mobile use and smartphones:

  • Check-ins (foursquare, etc)
  • SMS campaigns
  • QR codes

Use the power of mobile to raise awareness, gamify (coming soon) and personalize shopping experiences.

Secret 3: Key influencers

If you came to Monday’s blogging summit, you now have a better idea of how to engage influential bloggers. There wasn’t much new here, the ideas remain the same: offer value to your influencers and think about their audience.

Secret 4: Live broadcasting

Live broadcasting is a great way to get in touch with your audience directly. It gives a sense of community and direct contact with influencers and marketers. Matt suggested a variety of live streaming audio and video websites.

Secret 5: Crowdsourcing

Crowdsourcing is another great way to get feedback from your audience by letting them suggest things and propose ideas. Famous examples are, of course, Wikipedia and Apple’s App Store. Let your audience write articles and submit them to your blog, or set up a website to showcase your clients wearing or using your product somehow.

Secret 6: Contests

This one is self-explanatory: contests bring awareness to a brand or whatever you’re marketing. Careful with contests though: they rarely produce deep engagement. Most people don’t bother with brands further than for the contest unless they’re already loyal.

Secret 7: Gamification

Mack Flavelle came up on stage at this point to discuss gamification through a classic: Super Mario Bros. Mack talked about:

  • Points
  • Coins
  • Measured progress
  • Sense of urgency
  • Easy learning curve

The great thing about gamification is that you can use it to harness the natural human desire to achieve things, be it as simple as finishing a level. That’s why some people check in on foursquare so avidly: the badges and the points.

Secret 8: Content marketing

Most people don’t know what you know, so offer your knowledge and expertise to others in a way that will appeal to them and attract their attention (and loyalty). Danny Bradbury shared some of his knowledge about content marketing.

Good writing is essential; press releases are boring and you need to give more to your readers. Connect with your audience by writing about what they care about.

He described four types of stories for blogs:

  • Resource posts (top 10s, how-tos, etc.)
  • Analysis (thinking about a topic at a deeper level or different angle)
  • Breaking news (hard to do unless you’re a journalist)
  • Personal stories

He suggests getting stories from three sources:

  • Personal conversations with interesting people
  • Inquiry into questions you have or from your audience
  • The web

He also told us about a few ways to add value to blog posts:

  • Visualization
  • Embedding (videos, music, etc.)
  • Documents (slideshare, PDFs, etc.)
  • Maps
  • Timelines


Matt then tested our understanding of the talk by showing us a few social media campaigns. That’s elementary pedagogy and I appreciated seeing a bit of participation from the audience.

This talk was very marketing-oriented. The most useful part for me was the content marketing section, but the info from the other secrets will come in handy for sure.

And then again the same question as Monday: where are the smart marketing women?


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