4 Takeaways from the 2017 WOMMA Summit: TALK360

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Last week, the Social Media Link team attended WOMMA’s 2017 summit, TALK360, in New York City, as we joined hundreds of marketing and industry pros celebrating the innovative world of word-of-mouth marketing. 

If you weren’t able to attend the conference, don’t sweat it. Here’s a recap of our favorite takeaways. Plus, check out what attendees and presenters were saying with #WOMMAsummit.

1. Advertising campaigns should be developed social and mobile first

With the changing landscape of media consumption today, it’s no surprise that social media is a highly effective way to reach buyers. However, we’re still seeing a lack of social media strategy integrated within B2B and B2C marketing departments. 

During “Tying Social Activities to Business Outcomes,” Keith Gormley, VP of Social Media at Prudential says the best performing campaigns are developed social first. And Jort Possel, Head of Social Media at Accenture, recommends that social media should be core to business strategy - not siloed within an organization. Because all sales starts with content - especially social content - and there is no longer a dichotomy between building brand and building leads, shares LinkedIn’s Jon Lombardo

We learned about sophisticated content strategies throughout TALK360, as many sessions discussed both social media and the idea of visual storytelling. For example, brands from BuzzFeed and Entertainment Weekly, to MGM Resorts and Goldman Sachs are using ephemeral content on social networks like Snapchat and Instagram Stories. 

Even for brands that consumers wouldn’t expect to see on social media (banks, financial services and other traditional businesses), Kaydee Bridges, VP of Digital and Social Media Strategy at Goldman Sachs says that since this is where consumers are, this is where companies need to be. For example, her team created an infographic surrounding the data story on Millennials and saw a huge click-through-rate when posting it on Snapchat - larger than the CTR on more traditional marketing channels.

2. The FTC is only becoming more serious

As we heard in “Ground Rules: Preemptively Protecting Against FTC Crackdowns,” the FTC is charging $16,000 per day for disclosure violations - and they can even fine retroactively. So if that doesn’t encourage you to choose an influencer marketing platform that’s FTC compliant, we’re not sure what will. 

Especially when guidelines are constantly changing and even the smallest misstep could cause a violation. For example, not mentioning “#ad” in the first three lines of your caption and using “#spon” are big no-nos in the FTC’s guidebook, but many influencers don’t follow these regulations. And even if you sign a contract outlining that the influencer must disclose they were paid, your brand is the one who gets in trouble if the influencer discloses improperly. 

But there’s good news: In the session, we heard that 70% of influencers did not see a performance difference between sponsored and non-sponsored content. As long as your influencers and content creators are authentic, you can expect a positive ROI on your influencer program. 

3. No one has cracked the code on measuring ROI

Almost every presenter who mentioned measuring the ROI of an influencer platform did so with a different form of measurement - whether it be the number of impressions, the number of engagements (likes, shares, comments) or the increase in share of voice for a brand. 

Perhaps the most quantitative form of measuring ROI was discussed in “How to Build, Grow and Quantify Influencer Marketing Campaigns,” where Britton Cordill, Director of Marketing & eCommerce for Marriott International describes ROI as taking the number of earned impressions and comparing that to what a brand would’ve paid on a cost-per-click basis. 

Although there’s no definitive answer on how to measure influencer marketing ROI, one thing we did notice is that measurement depends on the specific program. In the session “Influencer Marketing: The Why and the ROI,” Lauren Nodziak, Director of External Comms and Influencer Engagement at Pernod, says that although programs are paid, marketers should focus on what the program stands for - it’s not necessarily about cutting check, but more about what the influencer and brand are building together. 

A good example of this was mentioned in “How to Build, Grow and Quantify Influencer Marketing Campaigns” by Alexandra Comito, Social and Brand Strategy Supervisor at Ogilvy, and her work on BabyNes. Comito described BabyNes as a "Keurig for baby formula," saying the product gets a lot of grief from parents who only believe in breastfeeding. So she considered her influencer program a success because of the positive sentiment associated with the majority of the comments on both Instagram and Facebook. 

4. Your employees are your best influencers

According to an Edelman survey, consumers trust employees of a brand more than anyone else. The messenger is just as important as the message, and in this case, the messenger should be your employees. 

In the session, “Use Your Inside Voice: Integrating Employee Advocacy into the Marketing Mix,” we learned that top brands such as Johnson & Johnson and Verizon are using employee advocacy tools to integrate employee recommendations into their digital strategies. Jason Small, Chief Storyteller at Verizon, says that more likely than not, your employees are already posting on social media about your brand - these advocacy platforms take preemptive measures to ensure employees are staying on-brand, and more importantly, following FTC guidelines. One thing to note: you may have trouble getting this type of program past your legal team, which is why having a tool in place is a great idea. 

Although the idea of employee advocacy is a new for many brands - the support teams at J&J and Verizon being a handful of people - they have already seen huge success from the programs. They measure sentiment, mentions, and share of voice, as well as the number of hires made from LinkedIn-specific campaigns. 

Did you attend WOMMA’s TALK360? We want to hear about your favorite insights and learnings! Tweet us @sml360

Katie TakacsTwitterLinkedIn

Katie is the Marketing Coordinator at Social Media Link. She assists in the content creation and strategy for digital and social marketing efforts aimed at building awareness around Social Media Link’s offerings and impact.