Upload Lisboa: social media is growing up

Upload Lisboa: social media is growing up


Upload Lisboa is a social media and digital conference that took place in Lisbon, Portugal this weekend. Digital thinkers and doers explored developing areas of practice in social and digital communication and marketing. The event was created five years ago by Virginia Coutinho (@VirginiaCP). It's a wonderful community: 500 people attended Escola Superior de Comunicação Social; University of Lisbon; more than 3,000 joined the live web feed; and the #uplx2014 hashtag was the top trending topic on Twitter in Portugal throughout the day.

I joined the event to share some ideas about the impact of social media on organisational communication. Other speakers talked about tools, workflow, making money and the importance of context over content.

Digital planning tools

BBH’s head of communication planning Julian Cole (@juliancole) made the trip from New York to share his tool box of free or low cost tools and hacks to understand behaviour online.

In a fast-paced presentation Julian benchmarked airline KLM’s digital and social strategy using 19 tools to understand the customer journey, social behaviour, website and search performance, paid promotion and creative execution.

Highlights included Google’s Online Customer Journey, Consumer Barometer, and Search Trends; and social tools including Topsy, and Talkwalker.


War room approach to realtime content marketing

Amber Horsburgh (@amberhorsburgh) a digital strategist at Big Spaceship in New York, called on brands to stop fighting for attention via social forms of media at events such as the Super Bowl or World Cup.

Instead she urged brands to listen to their own markets and participate in the events that were relevant to their products or services.

Amber shared lessons from an example of a so-called war room created for Google Play during the Oscars.

She proposed that the same approach could be scaled down to one person working over a week to set up listening, processes, an editorial plan and pre-prepared content.


Context marketing

Molly Flatt (@mollyflatt) a writer and strategist at 1000heads in London followed a similar theme and called out the current obsession with content marketing. Red Bull and Nike no longer sell products she said but have become media companies.

This isn't a new phenomenon for the social web. Molly cited historical examples of content marketing where organisations have created their own forms of media ranging from Coca Cola re-branding Father Christmas in the 1930s to  a magazine about tractors published by John Deere.

Branded content is dominating social forms of media and giving rise to discontentment she claimed. Marketing professionals have become pushers, creating huge amounts of irrelevant content that does little but generate white noise.

Molly warned that we’re heading for a backlash and said that we need to focus on context over content and recognise that sometimes there simply isn't a role for brand in a conversation and that they should be silent.


Retargeting via social and owning your data

Parry Malm (@parrymalm) founder of UK-agency Howling Mad presented a provocative pitch making the claim that email, and not social media, is the killer application on the Internet.

In a straight talking presentation Parry made the case that an email address is passport and gateway to networks and services on the Internet. He spoke about email retargeting using custom audiences on social networks.

Facebook, Twitter and other social networks, allow ad campaigns to be created using an existing email databases and build look-a-like audiences. Parry claimed this was a highly effective and underused form of audience planning.

Parry also warned that it is critical that organisations capture customer data and aren’t beholden to third-party publicly traded companies.


Crisis management, #BrandVandals and some straight talking

My session explored how social media is growing up and becoming part of every operational area of an organisation. It can no longer be a blog, Facebook or Twitter bolted onto a communication or marketing campaign.

I talked about areas of an organisation where media change is well entrenched including crisis communications; marketing and public relations; customer service; and the ongoing shift to social business.

Here’s the deck from my session.

Social media is having a massive upheaval on communication in every area of of an organisation. A theme throughout Upload was that we are growing up as a discipline but that this shift will occupy professionals for the next generation as organisations become truly social.

Lisbon is a great place to explore and think. My thanks to Virginia Coutinho and her team for the invitation to the event and the opportunity to spend some time in the city. I'm already planning a return trip.

5 steps to managing a crisis online

5 steps to managing a crisis online

CIPR President's Q3 2014 report: community engagement

CIPR President's Q3 2014 report: community engagement