Meltwater Social Summit New York 2019 Summary

Lance Concannon Lance Concannon, Marketing Director, Europe

The Meltwater Social Summit began three years ago as the Sysomos Summit in Raleigh NC, home of our US head office. Since then we’ve held annual Summits in New York, San Francisco, and London, continuing the events as part of Meltwater since our 2018 acquisition.

Each year the events get bigger and better, and last week’s Meltwater Social Summit New York was our biggest ever, with over 500 digital marketers joining us for the two-day event. The first day saw a great line-up of keynote speakers presenting insightful thought leadership, best practice, and case studies. On day two we ran 13 educational workshops covering a wide range of social and digital marketing topics. (You can check out the full agenda here.)

The event opened with a presentation from Meltwater’s Global Head of Social, John Box, setting out the future direction for our social analytics and engagement strategy, based on the belief that PR and marketing functions are converging, with social data at the heart of that. John also reaffirmed our commitment to investing in AI and big data technologies.

Our first keynote speaker was Erik Qualman, digital expert and author of Socialnomics, who talked about how professionals can better navigate the modern digital world and use social media to help build their careers. Erik also stuck around during the breaks to sign copies of his book for attendees.

Erik was followed by Whitney Coble, Manager of Global Social Marketing at Mary Kay. Whitney talked about how the cosmetics brand uses social to empower its huge network of sales representatives. The brand enables its reps to create their own social content that communicates the experience of being confident, beautiful, and connected.

Paul Turnbull and Kyle Schlapkohl from IBM then presented a case study on how they used social to generate buzz for the launch of a new blockchain product. They stressed the importance of listening before you speak, in order to understand how best to communicate with your audience and get insight into how your competitors are behaving. They also made an interesting promise to the audience, that they would all be able to explain blockchain in a single tweet by the end of their presentation.

Wrapping up the opening session, Torre Gentile, Rosa J. Nunez, and Matt Kelly from agency, BCW, talked about “Iffy Influencers” and how marketers can protect themselves from the potential brand damage caused by working with social media influencers who aren’t all they seem. The key takeaway here was that influencer vetting needs to be taken seriously at strategic level, and not left to a junior member of staff.

Opening the afternoon session, Zontee Hou, Co-lead of Consulting at Convince & Convert, gave a presentation titled “Align, Amplify, Analyze: Magnify Your Content Marketing’s Impact Through Social Media”. Zontee’s advice included paying special attention to evergreen content that will work hard for a long time, partnering with outside voices and communities whose interests are aligned with your own, and analyzing audience behaviors to understand how well your content is resonating.

Dina Fierro from NARS Cosmetics spoke on the importance of combining intuition and data when building a content strategy for your brand. She talked about how the brand uses social listening to understand consumer behaviour, and how content creators are making use of social platforms, to identify collaboration opportunities.

Next, Davitha Ghiassi, from agency, Red Havas, delved into some social trends to help brands stay on the ball. Constantly evolving social platform algorithms, social commerce, and the commercialization of social influence were high on the agenda. Also, Davitha, pointed out that these days all brands should expect consumers to respond to their social activity and be ready to engage with those who do.

Albert Thompson from Walton Isaacson gave a presentation on the rise of micro-influencers, in which he pointed out that consumers are far more likely to look to friends and family for recommendations than professional influencers. Therefore, he argued, it’s better to convert your happy customers into ‘micro-influencers’ by honouring your promises and earning authentic endorsements from them.

Dan Linton from W2O talked about why data privacy is an important issue for brands, not just to reduce risks but also because it can deliver clear business advantage by increasing customer loyalty.

The final presentation of the day came from the Atlantic Council’s Nicholas Yap, who explained how his organization uses social analytics to fight the spread of disinformation online.

We ended the day with a lively expert Q&A session, in which the audience posed their social media questions to a diverse selection of panellists including Rowena Kam from Syneos Health, Rachel Neff from LANE, Lucia Jimenez from the Center for International Private Enterprise, and Robert Belcher from PA Consulting, with Yelena Mandenberg from Grit Daily moderating the session.

We had a great time running this event, meeting lots of fellow social and digital professionals, and we’re looking forward to doing it again in 2020!