State of the Digital PR Nation – SASCon Mini 2014

PushON | January 16th 2014

SAScon Mini 2014

Drew Benvie, founder of Battenhall (live blog)

State of Digital PR Nation

Sascon keynote talk – Drew Benvie Battenhall – state of the PR nation from Drew Benvie

Social media has disrupted everything. Where is it now?

Kids of today understand digital instinctively. [applause]

12 years ago Drew started a blog; journos were starting to participate. New social media can grow at breathtaking speed. Who knew Snapchat was already the no 1 means of sharing photos?

Social media is now the biggest niche of the internet. How can brands take advantage of this disruption?

Hacker culture: companies are terrified of ex-employers or mischievous types ruining their social media outlets.

But social media can be a great help, allowing businesses to co-operate internally.

Why do CEOs open Twitter accounts then never update them? They’re proving they aren’t social companies. New opportunities, digital apps, can help us (or distract us).

Typically, companies often grant one person social access and that person becomes the SM voice. It succeeds and then the bosses try to make it spread but it grinds to a halt.

Why not make everyone digitally and socially literate?

Battenhall made ourselves digital, offering flexible hours and unlimited holidays. Google’s 20% rule, where people can do anything thy choose for 1/5 of their time. We liked that.

We gave every employee £1200 to get a laptop or whatever – if they already had a laptop, they’d spend it on all sorts of stuff.

We had to go global. We have 10 employees and speak 10 languages (it’s also handy that we have flexible hours).

Culture shock: Social v Search

We built an SEO tool from scratch. Communication is great for search.

We became data geeks. We are the listening Mission Controls for our clients, nipping bad social in the bud and advising them on responses.

Wearable Tech: a Perfect Storm

How many people count their steps? (5%, it turns out) FitBit is the iPod of the step-count market. Life-logging is big now. We can track every element of our lives from food to fitness and many of us publish as we go.

So … social media is allowing brands to get into the hearts of our lives.

Is this cool or will it have us running to the hills? I think it’s cool because it can ultimately help us. We generate gigs of data every day that is useful but, until now, wasted.

The rise and rise of photo sharing.

Businesses haven’t traditionally communicated with photos – they’re used words. The big social photo sharing apps have been snapped up for big bucks by the bigger fish.

Brands have been left dumbfounded at the realisation that Facebook isn’t the ad medium it was not so long ago.

The high street wants to get people into their bricks and mortar stores. Increasingly they are turning to SM to do it – vouchers, offers etc. that require physical presence to redeem.

I am in the SM industry and I can barely keep up – ho do we expect huge, heavy-footed brands to keep up?

The big players present a mixed picture re social media. Some good, some woeful.

Don’t look exclusively at your own sector – look EVERYWHERE to find new ways of engagement.

 Question: What about G+?

Answer: Definitely one to watch because of Google’s massive suite.