Digital Strategy

Top takeaways from Social Media Week 2020

#SMWTO a reflection of a year that was and where we’ll go from here.

It seems only fitting that Social Media Week 2020 (SMW) would adopt a virtual approach this year, not just out of necessity, but because of the nature of the content itself. This year’s conference had a relevant focus on the impact of the pandemic on content strategy, creation and consumption, the ripple effect on social action (and change) and the role of content creators and advertisers. TikTok took top spot on the SMW agenda, but there was much said about Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat, showing staying power (and reinvention) across the board. And there was also some practical (and interesting) stuff for the business nerds in all of us (LinkedIn).

Here are a few of the key takeaways that rose to the top for us. A reflection of a year that was and where we’ll go from here!

Selling without selling it

More often than not agencies are faced with the challenge of choosing content creators that have an authentic connection with their audience and can present something new and unique about the brand they are working with. With the overload of content in-market today, it is especially important to stand out as a creator to ensure you are engaging your audience. Working with influencers that aren’t afraid to embrace imperfections in their content and who don’t put too much focus on over-polishing or refining their ‘look’ will translate into watchable and engaging content that creates a relatable story within the context of a branded post. Dare Foods brand Bold ‘n Baked introduced its bold and better-for-you snack in partnership with content creators that shared an honest, fun and edgy tone to connect with its target audience. Influencers were sought out based on their ability to reflect true snacking moments and sentiment that was relatable and unapologetic, striking a chord with key consumers and breaking through on social (and in a time of mass digital content clutter). The campaign was successful in landing the brand point of difference and increasing engagement, all while keeping the integrity of each influencer’s personal voice for a true content collaboration.

Community is key

Physical distancing measures and periods of lockdown have resulted in unprecedented changes in how consumers interact with brands. The uncertainty of in-store shopping being feasible, and the increase of time spent at home is driving more consumers online than ever before. People are now looking for a stronger sense of community online and are using social media as a tool to connect with like-minded brands, content creators and other social media users. Consumers on social media are now looking beyond purely product offering to understand a brand’s values on a deeper level and engage in meaningful conversations. Brands can spark these conversations by offering useful information, establishing a unique brand voice that speaks to the target audience, and strategically partnering with content creators who reflect the brand’s values and identity. By establishing a sense of community, brands can build trust and an authentic connection with their audiences, which in turn will lead to online conversion.

Paper trail for accountability

While this year will no doubt be remembered by marketers as the year of pivot due to constant changes in approach in the face of Covid-19, it will also be marked as a year of progress in social activism. In addition to the global pandemic, a collection of actions against racism were brought to the forefront through social campaigns, utilizing social media as the conduit to drive awareness, act as a platform to raise your voice and build a strong community online. Through initiatives like #BlackoutTuesday and the July Facebook Boycott, a paper trail was created online for corporations to be held accountable for their position on the issues. As these movements continue to be addressed, brands will be held accountable for any decision they make, whether that is showing they are listening, voicing their stance or staying quiet.

Leveraging Blockbuster Marketing Principles to Create a Successful LinkedIn Strategy

Social and digital campaigns are an integral tool to reach consumers, however they are also strategies that can help companies to develop corporate profile, connect with stakeholders and engage potential talent, in particular on LinkedIn. To create engaging content for successful LinkedIn campaigns, companies can take a page from the silver screen and apply some of the same principles that have been used to promote blockbuster movie releases:

  • Surprising Familiarity (the power of sequels and prequels). This can be translated to your LinkedIn strategy by creating mini-campaigns from long-form content. For example, share research findings, inspiring quotes, and insightful analytic soundbites from a presentation or infographic. Include a link to the long-form asset. In the process, you’ll share valuable content to your audience and drive traffic to your content.
  • Merchandising (using the same creative in different channels). In order to maximize the reach of your resources, go cross-channel and mine your content across social platforms. Share current and past blog posts, positive brand news, industry events and research, and highlight customer case studies. The content you’re producing for other channels can be strategically repurposed with your LinkedIn audience in mind. Fresh happenings and revisiting evergreen topics create an interesting mix for audiences following your brand to engage with.

Harbinger is a Toronto-based North American marketing agency with expertise in product launches. We help brands get noticed and purchased.


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