Year after year, Spredfast Smart Social Summit is consistently energizing and engaging. Speakers are ahead of the trend with topic choice and on target with audience sentiment. This year 700 digital marketing and social champions attended the sold out conference. Attendees heard Michelle Obama speak for the main keynote, and swapped industry stories and tips in between taco and margarita breaks.
Andy Meadows, Kelly Klein, and Abby Nelson were pleased to represent BudURL as a sponsor and partner at this year's Summit. Read on to hear a few of the gems they walked away with this year.
The Spredfast Summit is a special time of year for us. Spredfast has been an incredible partner and we share multiple clients. This is their shining event and we enjoy the benefit of seeing a number of customers and many friends. This year was definitely my favorite Summit of the the last three. Even disregarding the amazing marquis names on the stage (ahem: Michelle Obama), the quality of speakers and the level of storytelling has reached new heights. Knowing that so much social media power is centralized in a single square block is a bit daunting. The voices that wield this authority are concentrated into a single venue and their level of engagement with one another and the shared content is second to none.
My view on the Summit this year was different than in the past. Unfortunately, I missed several of the speakers and sessions, but only because I was actively engaged in a number of conversations in the hallways and on the comfy sofas throughout the venue. What resonated most for me was the level of thought being applied to future planning, learning from shared experiences, and sincere depth of discussion among peers. I overheard complete strangers dig deep and discuss personal challenges and accomplishments; old friends discussed war wounds and their individual professional peaks and valleys; and teammates glean lessons learned and create new ideas, in the moment, that were immediately applicable and executed. None of this would be possible without the venue, the vulnerability, and the vision provided by this event and those who participated.
My biggest take-away was from the relationships forged here and in years past. They change, they grow, and they evolve, but they never end. The opportunity that social and Summit deliver every year is immeasurable and I'm honored to have been a sponsor, a participant, and a customer of these amazing brands.
BudURL Client Success Manager
Spredfast’s #SmartSocialSummit is always an exciting time for me as I love the energy and precise logistical management Spredfast exhibits to pull off such an amazing event. The value for me is threefold.
- The content never ceases to amaze me and I gain a lot of insight as to what other big brands are doing for social, what their current pain points are and how they are tackling these challenges.
- I have the pleasure of being able to connect with my clients who are located all around the nation in a face to face manner. It gives me an opportunity to know them on a personal level. This is truly a highlight of my time.
And last, but not least..
- As a remote employee I get to have time with my team and sync up with them in ways that can’t be done over Slack.
This year was no exception. As a partner of Spredfast, we are always looking for ways to make our clients’ lives easier and more streamlined. One of the themes of the summit seemed to be energizing entrusted and perhaps conservative brands. The best example came from National Geographic. NatGeo is attracting the younger market by doing live Twitter events (#safarilive) and diving into Snapchat.
Goldman Sachs was another brand that has leveraged Social Media to its fullest to start and continue the conversation that they were not able to in the crash of 2008. They can now control the conversation better and help with financial education.
LiveNation, although a newer brand, is tackling the world LIVE. It streams a mind-boggling 28,000 music events a year. 1 every 18 seconds. Its impressive to me how they are managing so much content at one time.
Content was also a big topic amongst the speakers. Are you creating content that is “thumb-stopping”? Videos are a great way to do that, and highly produced doesn’t always mean more engaged views. Aritzia pointed out how NASA is doing just that with short videos and fresh images.
BudURL Client Success Manager
This year there were two resounding themes throughout the lectures I attended at Summit: empathy & disruption. While they may seem wildly different, industry experts seemed to be laser focused on these in many areas of digital and social business. Let's dig into a few specific examples.
1. Using your brand voice for empathy & social good came up again and again. With fires running rampant in California, parts of Texas underwater, and other terrible misfortunes occuring far too often, the most sophisticated brands are very aware that they need to show empathy and use their influence to promote as much social good as possible.
- National Geographic was refreshingtly transparent with their struggle and responsibility to portray what's happening in the world accurately and tastefully.
- Patagonia won this year's Spredfast Smart Social Award largely due to their efforts in protecting Bears Ears National Monument in Utah from losing its protected status. The Patagonia team created a social virtual reality experience that gave their audience the opportunity to feel the beauty of Bears Ears. The brand used its social tout to encourage the nation to campaign for Bears Ears to the Secretary of the Interior.
- Stitchfix is a brand that combines human fashion stylists with data science and automated technology to create the best possible experience for their audience. They use empathy in customer service every day by knowing what to automate, and what never to automate. For example, when their team is asked "how do I dress my post-baby body?" by a customer, they have a process that ensures she gets an authentic and empathetic response from a real human.
2. Innovation & disruption can lead to authentic growth. It's sometimes difficult for digital marketers and social media professionals to do anything but toe the line of status quo and compliance. There were business from many verticals represented at Summit looking to break this trend and disrupt the marketplace. Here were a few examples that stood out:
- Last year, the national retailer REI skipped the Black Friday trend and started an #optoutside campaign that encouraged shoppers to skip the store lines and spend some time in nature instead. They also, remarkably, closed their stores on the shopping holiday and gave employees the day off - encouraging them to get back into the wild and explore. Soon #optoutside was going viral, and other stores were even following suit. REI took a risk by skipping out on a profitable shopping holiday, but it paid off on the bottom line (ROI!) and gave their social reputation a huge boost.
- National Geographic has some of the best visual content in the business and most marketers assume it goes through layers of approval processes before hitting their social channels. At Summit this year, NatGeo revealed that they give around 100 photographers direct access to their official Instagram handle to post live content on stories and on their feed. This disruptive process has created some of the most compelling nature content on Instagram and increased National Geographic's following tremendously.
- Aritizia speaker Charlie Grinnell gave an example from a Red Bull campaign that shocked the audience. Businesses often assume a "go big or go home" mentality with social campaigns, and pour money into the projects under the assumption that bigger budget will lead to bigger audience engagement. Red Bull turned this on its head when it released two videos of the same snow mobile stunt. One cost 200,000 euros to professionally produce, edit, and curate, and the other was shot on someone's iPhone. The total cost for the iPhone version was $700 if you factor in the videographer's flight cost to Europe to be present for the stunt. Amazingly, the $700 video had 10 million views and the highly produced 200,000 euro video had only 5 million views.
The BudURL team is proud to have been a sponsor for #SmartSocialSummit 2017. We always enjoy connecting with existing clients and partnering with Spredfast to make our users' businesses more successful. If you attended, we'd love to hear what you thought of the Summit this year in the comments. If not, we'd still appreciate your questions and feedback.