Digital Marketing Conference: morning session review

Thursday, 11th July 2019

Blog by pro-manchester comms manager, Mel Hill

Our recent Digital Marketing Conference was Manchester’s top trend, and with the topics in question and Manchester’s best creatives coming together at etc.venues, it was no surprise.

The morning saw Jonathan Hulton, Founder of IM Agency and a catalyst behind the commercial success of The Manc; Manchester’s most engaged online community with a loyal following of over 400,000 across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram take to the stage.

Jonathan’s energising keynote encouraged delegates not to underestimate the power of people:

“Once you’ve got a loyal audience that you’re giving value to with great content, they will give you long-term revenue and sustainability,” says Jonathan.

“If you can’t master content and communication, you need to get someone who can. It’s okay not to be the best at everything. Sam who created The Manc knows how to win the audience of Manchester and I know how to commercialise it, so it’s worked.”

Content is King

Like Jonathan, Laura Berry from BIG Partnership, a nationwide PR specialist believes your content is your most important asset when it comes to digital marketing.

Her tips? Great content should:

  1. Inspire
  2. Educate
  3. Entertain
  4. Engage

“No matter what channel you are putting content out on, you need to have the same brand messages over and over. In this day and age everyone’s a journalist,” says Laura. “Comments on social media have the power to frame a news story. If you keep your branding and messaging consistent you can end up turning a negative story into a positive, simply because of your immediate reaction online.”

Laura also introduced delegates to ‘newsjacking’, a reactive reaction to something in the news that you can take advantage of to promote your brand in a certain way.

News life cycles

The news life cycle in a mobile world is quick, to newsjack you need to:

  1. Find news to jack
  2. Develop a strategy quickly and in real time
  3. Get your messages out there

The social media world is fickle to say the least, with people shooting to fame and quickly shooting back down in no time at all – this includes reality tv stars and influencers.

The recent introduction of influencer advertising has had both positive and negative reaction from social media users, but how thorough are influencers when they decide which brands to align with?

Our first panel discussion of the day was hosted by our Creative Co-Chair, Steve Kuncewicz – Partner at BLM. Steve was keen to get the opinion of Katy Leeson – Managing Director, Social Chain, Viv Yau – Founder, Bee Influence and Charmie Jane – a beauty influencer.

“Influencers aren’t cowboy ad creators”

Of influencers, Viv Yau, Founder of Manchester-based influencer agency Bee Influence says: “I look at them less as a media platform and more as an individual with an excellently engaged audience.

“People see influencer marketing as ‘cowboy ads’, but it’s a regulated, commercialised business used by hundreds of thousands of brands spending millions, so it’s right to be regulated. I think the more we standardise this the better it’ll be.”

Charmie Jane has built up a loyal following of people interested in beauty and fashion. Charmie creates her own content and will only align with brands who allow her to continually do this: “I appreciate when brands don’t look at me as an editor,” says Charmie.

“Brands that send me their guidelines and say how they’d like it to be shown, rather than discussing what I may like about a product or why my followers would like it tend to be the ones I stay away from because, for me it takes away from the authenticity of influencer marketing.”

Katy Leeson, Managing Director of global leading agency, Social Chain believes aligning your brand with the right influencer is important: “Whenever you match a brand with a celeb you need to think about whether your values align. You can’t predict if something’s going to go wrong.”

“The ones who get it right have a great relationship with the influencer and let them create content.”

The penultimate keynote of our morning session came from Tunafish Media MD, Sam Jones. Sam focused on building a multi-channel brand across all social media platforms.

Five simple steps for your social channels:

  1. Attract
  2. Inform
  3. Engage
  4. Influence
  5. Convert

“People are spending two hours and 22 minutes on social media per day,” says Sam. “This may not seem like a lot, but that accounts for 10% of the average person’s awake time.”

An astonishing stat that shows just why content is so important so you don’t get lost in a busy world.

“For businesses, LinkedIn is currently your biggest opportunity to grow. Facebook is pretty much pay-to-play with only 2% of your audience able to see your content organically.

“LinkedIn rewards you for good quality content. If you get 10 likes in the first three hours you’ll reach a wider audience and the same goes for if you post content on it on a daily basis, so it’s really worth spending a short amount of time ensuring you’re doing that.”

Our final speaker before the break came from Formisimo co-founder Tom New. Tom discussed how our reduced attention spans are affecting our first impressions of websites.

Within five seconds a website needs to tell us what the company does and show how we can quickly navigate to where we take action.

Tom says: “Human beings are drawn to things that stand our and don’t merge into the background. Make your primary call to action stand out more than anything else.

“Deciding where to put this is a little bit like science. You may fail a bunch of times before you succeed, but little tweaks will often get you your prime spot.”

Our sessions after the coffee break also included hugely insightful information, which we’ll be sharing on the blog tomorrow.

If you’re interested in speaking at any future events like this, please contact our Sector Group Manager, Ilona Alcock on [email protected]