#SMMUK10 – PANEL DISCUSSION: Can Advertising Really be Social?

Moderator: Peter Crosby, Chief Sales Officer, Viadeo

We are in the age of relevancy – We must now create experiences for consumers

A brand has to bring you in which then makes you an advocate, which makes the brand part of your life

Social networking is inherent to people’s lives because they take the dialogue offline and into their everyday lives.

Measurement is a big issue. The big challenge is how to bring people’s social presences together. Businesses may have a social presence but they don’t necessarily how to use it.

The social graph supports the social aspect of advertising – friends endorsing a brand helps decision making.

The relevancy of forced brand interactions is quite low.

Will facebook credits become the new currency? It has a lot of potential due to its reach. Being able to use it for real goods as opposed to just virtual goods is not that far away.

Geo-targeted advertising has great potential with Facebook Places which will increase the relevance of advertising.

Is content still king?

Yes, content is absolutely still imperative.

No, content is a point of entry – context is more important.

Engagement must be genuine and transparent, if not there will backlash. If there is backlash the brand must respond appropriately.

Facebook and search before that were blank slates with no content and they have managed to monetise the content others are sharing.

Content must be susbtantial for there to be impact.

What is the value of hyper-advocacy?

Blogs would prefer good content in the right context than advertising as this drives traffic.

Maybe hyper-advocates have a place being paid to be part of brand engagement?

Maybe the trend should be towards micro-advocates?

What are the risks?

No risks in social gaming because it is a controlled environment.

The loud minority isn’t always representative of the silent majority.

Advertisers in the social media space must be ready to disrupt of the status quo.

You need a process to handle detractors.

Scalability is important as well.

What responsibility exists with respect to privacy?

The terms in conditions are very important.

Mistakes are a learning opportunity but they must be responded to and mitigated.

What is the value of Facebook Connect?

This is a huge opportunity for data capture. Make the most of it.

Do you see a future for blogs?

Yes, facebook is not a blogging platform. It is a walled garden. Blogs offer different modes of interaction so as long as they are well written and maintained they will survive.

The risk is information overload.

The difference is that information now comes to us via twitter and RSS feeds.

The question is how do you integrate relevant advertising into blogs? Facebook Connect allows for this by providing useful data about users.