February 26, 2015

Day Three of Social Media Week: Snapchat, Generation Z & Troublemaking

SMWNYC Art of Troublemaking

The second full day of SMW sessions began bright and early with most of yesterday’s crowd still in bed. Most of yesterday’s wrinkles seemed to be ironed out and the sessions were equally informative (although my favorite session so far was yesterday’s from BuzzFeed). Isel and I are in full-on sponge mode, so let’s take a look at what day three entailed:

Isel’s Day Three: NYT Magazine, Social PR

Today’s first session had members of the New York Times Magazine team discussing their efforts in digital storytelling. With so much written content each week, they’re using platforms like Instagram, Vine and Facebook to distribute and promote stories in the magazine, and they’re doing it right: each piece of distributed content on these platforms is created in a way that makes the experience seem native and not forced. A lot of times we see marketers trying to take a piece of content and repurpose it on a platform in a way that doesn’t fit the experience, but this session explored some brands that are doing it right, like Complex:


“Social Marketing vs. Social PR” was my favorite session of the day, with Jan, CEO of SocialBakers digging into some of the details of his social media analytics platform to discuss the difference between social marketing and social PR and who’s doing it right. Here are just a few key takeaways (and there were a lot, so stay tuned for more):

  • Negative feedback is the most under measured metric on social. We should be looking at who’s opting out and why and pay attention to response rates and answer rates.
  • 3-4 pieces of GOOD content a week is enough, but you should be really thinking about and putting an effort behind it.
  • Prime examples: Oreo (of course) and Nestle.
  • Three states of social: 1. early stage of setting up, listening, some content, ads; 2. social analytics focus brings more care, even better content, properly engaging with fans; 3. becoming socially native with content and customer service.

Drew’s Day Three: Troublemaking, Snapchat, Gen Z

Day three started with a too-small cup of coffee and my most interactive session yet: The Art of Troublemaking. Three speakers from Salesforce walked us through their system for “shattering the status quo” in the workplace and igniting innovation, and instead of just talking about companies that excel at this, they had us try it out, which can be a rare thing at these conferences. Here’s the gist, in five tools:

  1. 10 Things: a framework for exploring problems, reasons behind these problems and one one might fix it.
  2. < great for research
  3. Empathy maps: helps us get to know what our audience is sensing (what do they think, hear, say, see).
  4. Find your muse: how might a modern company solve this problem?
  5. Paper prototyping: get your ideas on paper and start building your ideas.

Since the conference started, I’ve been wanting to hear more about Snapchat being used as a marketing tool, and thus far had been disappointed. On the one hand, it’s not the most accessible platform out there, with rates starting at $150,000 for one day’s promotion and a perceived audience of millennials and teens. On the other hand, I think one of the problems is that a lot of marketers just don’t understand how it could work for them yet. It’s radically different from platforms like Twitter and Facebook in that it’s ephemeral and not the most measurable, so it doesn’t fit the current mold of social media marketing. If Snapchat keeps rolling out new features, and starts to be taken seriously, my prediction is that next year, we’ll be hearing A LOT more about Snapchat at Social Media Week.

Anyways, Greg Littley of ICED Media has worked on some Snapchat campaigns recently, and his session was equal parts Snapchat 101 and a Q&A session on how brands can and are using the platform:

  • If you are marketing to ANYONE between the ages of 15-25, Snapchat cannot be ignored!
  • 120 million users share over 700 million snaps daily, surpassing Facebook and Instagram.
  • Brands that snap: Amazon, Taco Bell, Michael Kors, GE (companies in all industries are testing & playing with Snapchat)
  • Ways to make your life easier: tablets and large format phones, stylus.
  • Calls-to-action: text to sign up, participate through screenshots & drawings, “follow the rest of the story on @MarriottHotels.”

Finally, the day ended with beer and wine at 360i, a digital agency in Tribeca. They assembled four very talented young people (from Generation Z, which is now a thing) that have HUGE influential followings on Snapchat and Instagram:

  • Ryan Parilla: 16-year-old photographer from NY who has worked with Nike. Instagrammer.
  • Christine Mi: 21-year-old Snapchatter who has worked with 20th Century Fox.
  • Shaun McBride: Snapchatter who has worked with Disney World, Marriott.
  • Amanda Jas: 22-year-old photographer who has worked with Adidas.

It was inspiring (and a little disheartening) to see what these guys have achieved through what amounts to an organic, internet-fueled, grassroots following. Two key takeaways for me:

  1. The kids are coming up fast, and they’re willing to work with the right brands. But only the right brands.
  2. Creative integrity and authenticity is non-negotiable. Most of the brands listed above gave these guys full creative freedom. Shaun discussed working with Marriott and said there was no “you can stay for one night with the discount code: snapchat on” but instead something like “hey guys, Marriot wants to send me anywhere in the world, where should I go?”

I’ll end this post with a photo from A SIXTEEN YEAR OLD:

A photo posted by Ryan Parrilla (@novess) on