SAScon Mini 2014 – The State of Digital PR

If you follow us on Twitter you may have seen that I went to SAScon Mini on Friday to get the latest on all things search and social. Sponsored by Melbourne Server Hosting, the day was search and social heaven for digital folk.

The day kicked off with a keynote from Battenhall‘s Drew Benvie (the man who wrote the Wikipedia page on social media back in 2006), covering the state of PR in a time where digital is everything and everything is digital.

sascon

The first point he made touched upon the “disruption that social media has brought” to all areas of a business, changing the face of PR and communications. Social media, whilst still regarded by many as a mystery, is now mainstream and is the driving force behind digital consumption; social networking sites are the single biggest use of the internet.

Drew spoke of how social media is now infused across all areas of a business – CEOs are on Twitter, businesses are seeking alternatives to email when it comes to internal communications. There’s no longer one team of social media professionals sat separately to the rest of the company; it’s everyone’s responsibility. Not everyone needs to grasp crisis comms etc – but “everyone needs to be digitally literate.”

But why is it so important that we all understand the basics of social media now? Why can’t all of it be left to the specialists?

For him, the answer lies in the sheer power that social media has now. There are four emerging forces behind it that mean it’s not going anywhere soon -

  • Image sharing
  • Wearable technology
  • Data capture
  • Messaging

What’s more, it’s changing all the time. Drew spoke of how “single purpose apps are the future”, so brands need to figure out ways to be using Snapchat, Jelly and other seemingly less ‘social’ apps.

Whilst social media is on the increase, there’s also a bigger calling for privacy now hence why consumers are backing away from the likes of Facebook and favouring these single purpose applications that offer them just that.

snapchat

As such, it’s time to lessen our focus on numbers. The driving force behind many campaigns we run as digital professionals is numbers, likes, fans, followers – tangible results that happen quickly and look impressive. However, Drew encouraged us to look at the bigger picture. What if our social campaigns aim to encourage people back on to the high street instead? Why don’t we use Snapchat to offer vouchers for use in store?  ”The offline and online worlds are intrinsically linked” – so we have to treat them as such.

The real lesson to be learnt from Drew’s SAScon keynote came in his closing words “Move fast and break things.” To get anywhere in social media you have to play around, experiment and get a real feel for where your brand belongs – that’s when real innovation occurs.

movefast