Social Media Week is upon us and our ticket slash invite to the official events (and party…) has been booked for weeks. So we thought it only right to have a quick run-down of what’s on offer and what’s managed to tickle our fancy.

As ever, the beginning and end of the week’s events include the inevitable ‘what’s hot’ overview of industry trends ad what to expect over the coming year. While these always hold plenty of interest – even the most basic ‘social media 101’ session can be an interesting barometer of where the core offering has most recently shifted – I’m most interested by the more in-depth sessions that crop up mid-week.

This year there seems to be a real focus on interpreting data, the integration of customer service, and wider process refinement, allowing for brand marketing teams to place particular emphasis on social media in order to provide a more responsive, customer-centric, content-lead marketing strategy.

Monday afternoon’s google hangout with Hootsuite makes for an interesting discussion. Focussing on the differences between social media management and social media community management means it’s likely to be almost entirely about the Hootsuite platform capabilities. That said, as a platoon which specifically offers both social media management and social media community management, they’re perfectly placed to help us define the split between the two and how the roles/responsibilities can be best managed within a team. Really hoping for some simple and accessible guidance here on team collaboration using Hootsuite as an organisational social comms hub.

Tuesday is perhaps the busiest day in our diary, kicking off with a session on real-time social advertising. Having heard a lot recently about millisecond marketing and the ability to target audiences with tailored ads based on their immediate actions it’s exciting to see it on the bill. We understand it’s less developed here in the UK compared to the US but the potential is there to drastically change re-targeting campaigns in the very near future.

This is followed by ‘The Psychology of Persuasive Marketing Videos – And How to Get People to Watch Them‘, a highly intriguing session on proven theories to optimise content for clear cut results. At least we hope so. The impact of psychological studies in marketing and advertising is a long standing observation – never more bluntly as some of the classic product ads of the 1950’s. After many years of attempted use of video content, the use of high quality video to convey a brand story is growing. This is largely because we’re learning how to give a video purpose and campaign-lead meaning – moving away from general brand adverts for YouTube and moving towards brand storytelling to allow consumers in to a recognisable and transparent customer journey. But also largely attributed to the increased gravity of videos on Facebook which, as we know, delivers increased reach for video content uploaded directly. Despite the potential of video as an ad-based revenue stream, it’s hard to argue against the powers of video content in terms of brand affinity but as video grows beyond video hosting sites, techniques to encourage views have evolved beyond sponsored YouTube spots. We’re looking forward to some specific tactics to encourage organic and paid views, something which often doesn’t get the strategic input it deserves.

The afternoon offers the opportunity to hear some lessons from LEGO. And while it’s not too hard to see what they’ve done and how they’ve managed to achieve it (I.e. Budget + creative freedom = everything is awesome!) it still stands out as a session likely to be bursting with inspiration, both creative inspiration and inspiration to define strong core brand values and have faith in them throughout.

Wednesday appeals to our inner geek. This is the day we get technical and look for new and interesting ways to glean insight from our social data. Next Generation Social Media Insights is a rare excursion outside of the main #SMW2014 campus. The Institute if Directors plays host for the morning which hopefully means a focus on contribution to business objectives, rather than a watered down introduction to analytical possibilities. Either way we have the afternoon session on tips and tricks for building communities as mobilising change, which proves an enticing prospect given the current need for brand to cultivate change within their own business in order to utilise social most effectively. This is looked at in more depth on Tuesday at ‘Social Media Teams as the Vanguard of New, More Agile Ways of Working Inside the Wider Firm‘.

As with most things there are far too many events of interest for us to attend so this has by no means been a definitive list. These are however the events we’re attending so if you see us milling around at all, please come an say hi! We’re also hoping that videos/presentations will be available after the week is over so there are plenty of areas we’ll look to catch up on at a later date. Right now we’re looking at the following but there are sure to be others that stand out as the week goes on:

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