Hue Robertson

Is Real World ‘Sociability’ the Key to Social Media Success?


By James Poletti, Head of Digital Strategy @ RPM

There is much talk at the moment about integrating offline ‘real world’ events with the online digital world. Partly because it’s such an effective way to amplify an event beyond the physical limitations of a venue’s space. But also because we know from experience how technology slowly but seamlessly merges with our everyday behaviours, with much of our ‘real world’ time now conducted with half an eye on the glowing screen sitting in the palm of our hands.

It’s no surprise that RPM, whose core beliefs are embedded around the notion that brand behaviour is one of the strongest ways to change human behaviour, views social media with the emphasis on the ‘social’. Ask yourself, what is the trigger for your social media interactions? Our Facebook and Instagram feeds are awash with last night’s dinner, that beautiful sunset, a band in full flow, a child’s first steps. But how often are we photographing the screen of our laptop? Communication agencies deal in human responses, so whilst social media channels provide us with a communication platform, often the true potential of the medium can only be realised when knitted into the deep power of physical touch points and real world experience.

Creative and effective event marketing not only asks the audience to spend time with us but increasingly asks them to ‘participate’, to make and share their own content from the experiences that we create. We have the opportunity to turn audiences into ‘brand evangelists’ who will share the message of that great experience with their networks. How effective this communication is comes down to the experience, the power of content and our understanding of not just the ‘consumer’, but their network and its sharing currencies.

Too many executions from our industry, however, rely on simple image capture and share (with branding), often delivered by a white label tech partner whose pitch involves improbable multiplications of reach and impressions. Even when a participant cares enough to share this kind of formatted content, the creative fails to ignite the subsequent network interactions that really drive messages through social.

Smart ideas are built from insights into the sharing behaviour of networks and allow audiences the space to express themselves through personalisation, retaining enough mystery or humour to prompt friends to comment, share, like and drive more republishing.

Incredibly, it’s still hard to find seamless technical solutions that allow audiences to share from live event but exciting developments are on the horizon, not least of which is Apple’s iBeacons, which is set to enhance the connected environment with a whole new dimension.

We’ll be addressing all these issues on Wednesday 25th September, when – along with our friends from Specialmoves, The Rumpus Room and Swarm – we’re asking “Is real world ‘sociability’ the key to social media success?”. The panel takes place at the Soho Hotel (10am to 11am) as part of London’s fourth annual Social Media Week. So if you’d like to know more about how to digitally exploit the inherent sociability of branded events, you’re welcome to join us.

  • Richard Smith

    Interesting article Hugh, particularly the comments on the increased personalisation required in experiential activity. Although you’d probably classify us as one of your “white label tech partners” (no offence taken 😉 ) over the last three years we’ve moved on from simply sharing branded photos via RFID, to creating highly personalised real-world digital experiences aimed at closing the gap between a user’s social profile, and the brand’s values.

    Imagine being digitally welcomed to an experience in a manner which reflected your Likes on Facebook, or being offered a branded experience based on your hobbies?

    Oh, and you can still push all of these ‘unobtainable moments’ out via social channels using RFID to track impressions and reach, obviously 😉

    Looking forward to the panel next week!