Prior to her presentation at Friday’s Engage Social Media Summit in Bali, B&T stopped in for a chat with one of the conference’s lead presenters – Vanessa Lim Singh (main photo), the digital engagement specialist for the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). Here, she talks latest trends and why brands can’t afford anymore confusion about their social media strategies…
You’re speaking at the Social Media Summit, what can the audience expect?
I’ll be sharing how WWF uses digital to build a committed and passionate audience that helps us take action for the planet.
We’re living in a world of immense global challenges. Whether it’s our wildlife, oceans or forests, we’re losing nature at an alarming rate, while humanity continues to put more pressure on the environment in terms of food production, water demand and more.
So leveraging the power of digital, it’s important for us to show how we can deliver positive impact and inspire audiences to take action to protect our collective home.
What’s been the most exciting thing to happen in social media over the past 12 months?
From my perspective, it has been incredibly interesting to see how Facebook has been responding to the aftermath of #fakenews. The latest announcement on their algorithm change is perhaps one of the most significant changes we’ve had to date. This will no doubt affect brands significantly, which goes beyond dealing with falling organic reach.
In the social space, what always works, what doesn’t?
Giving people a platform to make a difference always works better for us. Solely being the bearer of bad news doesn’t do it at all – we need to empower our audiences.
There’s a HUGE issue around trust in all forms of media at the moment. What’s your view on that in relation to social media?
Now more than ever, it’s important for brands to understand who their audiences are, and from there foster deeper connections with them. Instead of continuously broadcasting information, which still seems rather common, it’s time to have conversations.
When there’s a strong personality behind a brand, people resonate more with the product/service. We stop looking at it as yet another brand trying to sell me something I don’t necessarily need, and instead feel a deeper sense of personal connection. This also fits into the shift that we’ll see towards communities and groups. So whether it’s re-looking at your Facebook groups strategy, or placing more focus on community management, we need to do more on the personalisation front to battle the issue of trust.
How are bands still getting their social media wrong?
Organisations need to start looking at social media as an extension of their brand. It’s more than a tool to sell, it’s a tool to foster better relationships with your customers and build a lifestyle, not just a product.
Where should social media fit in a brand’s overall media/marketing mix?
For us, social media serves as an effective mobilisation tool. It’s a great way to target the audiences we want, inspire them to drive positive impact for our planet and shape attitudes and opinions. More than just a part of the marketing funnel, social media should be seen as an extension of the brand.
What’s your advice to CMOs confused about investing in their social media strategy?
The age of confusion should have been long over! Social media and digital is no longer the future. It’s now, it’s yesterday. Used the right way, it gives us the immense potential to reach new audiences and continue conversations with existing ones. it allows people to share their experiences with each other and when you’ve built a positive experience for your users, you’ve built a strong community of supporters. Numbers speak and social media growth show no signs of slowing down. It’s about choosing the right platforms and targeting the right audiences
Who’s a brand (not yours) that you think is nailing its social media and why?
I love Netflix. They’ve mastered the act of building a strong personality for their brand, and perfected the execution of localising global content, which is important for a global organisation like WWF. Because of this, their content is always highly entertaining – regardless of whether you’re fan of the specific show or not. Most importantly, they know how to have fun – and they make it look easy.
Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc – what’s your platform of choice?
Personally, I love Instagram. I used to actively use Snapchat but that changed with IG story.
Looking deep into your crystal ball, what’s the next BIG thing coming for brands in the social media space?
Beyond social, I’d say cryptocurrency is the next thing to look out for, especially in the social sector. Lots of pilot programs are already being done, so I expect to see a lot more interesting development in this arena.