Social Media Week Bristol: Our Highlights

This week we had the pleasure of taking part in the wonderfully curated Social Media Week. The event has been running for over 10 years, and was rather conveniently hosted in Bristol this year.


We attended such a diverse range of talks and seminars across the city, exploring the key challenges and opportunities within social media and marketing technology. Talks ranged from a wonderful live-streamed keynote speech from Seth Godin, to a panel discussion on how to work best with influencers.

Here are some of our favourite talks and tips from the event:

Harnessing the Power of Play

Dr Pangiotis Petridis, a Senior Lecturer of Gamification at Aston University, kicked off this session exploring the theory behind the power of play and gamification.

Gamification is described as ‘the application of game playing elements (e.g. point scoring, competition with others, rules of play) to other areas of activity, typically as an online marketing technique to encourage engagement with a product or service.’

The key bit of knowledge that Dr Petridis stressed is that good gamification must start with the user. It was fascinating to hear his explanation of the different chemicals released and desired by certain user types – for example one user group may favour actions that release more Dopamine & Oxytocin, whereas another may want Seratonin & Endorphins. So by knowing your user, you can essentially create the perfect cocktail of chemical releases.

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 Lead Family gave the next part of the talk, sharing their top tips for creating a successful gamification campaign:

1.     Have a Clear Goal – is this campaign to generate brand awareness, purchase, or data capture?

2.     Consider your Audience – who are you engaging with, take time to conduct thorough research.

3.     Make it a Challenge – people like to test their skills and feel the buzz of winning, creating a rich and enjoyable experience.

4.     Pick the Right Reward – what kind of reward is most appropriate? Instant wins seem more attainable, prize draws will allow you to offer a much larger reward, so potentially more attention.

5.     Encourage Competition – it is in our nature to be competitive. Use this to your advantage, create leader boards & point systems, create a group challenge.


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Social Media Trends 2020

Drew Benvie, Founder at Battenhall, explored what he predicts are the next trends in social media – and what they mean for consumers, businesses and brands.

Here are the top four trends: 

1.     Rise of Stories – stories in Instagram have gone up 30% this year for 18-24 year olds.

2.     “Insta-Reality” – everyone is getting bored of picture perfect reality, and imperfect content is really getting people interested.

3.     Anti-Social – another method of avoiding the pressure to please everyone is creating closed communities and groups – for example, Facebook groups, and Patreon – where fans can subscribe to exclusive content.

4. – believe it or not this could be the next big social media platform. It allows users to create 15 second music videos with a range of editing features, and allows users to hold contests and challenges. I wonder if this aspect of gamification could be linked to it’s success…


Why Social Media Matters to the B2B Customer Journey

Luan Wise held a great session on how to plan content that connects with the B2B customer. B2B or ‘business-to-business,’ is essentially the exchange of products, services or information between businesses, rather than between businesses and consumers. 

Interestingly, 5.4 people are involved in the average B2B sale. The B2B customers who do the most research before making a purchase are millennials - and they do it on social media. 

Within B2B, our objective is to connect with people not sell to people. The B2B customer needs to know, like, and trust us. And importantly, B2B buyers are already 70% of the way through their decision making process before picking up the phone. 

For these reasons, you need content that really connects and engages people. And it needs to work at every stage of the buying process and to all 5.4 people. Sound complicated??? 

Well it is. Luan did make it easier by showing us some models and planning processes. An excellent session that gave great new insights and reinforced our knowledge. 


Marketing to the Perennials - Social Media and the 50+ Consumer


To be honest I was rather dreading this. I’m rapidly approaching half a centenary and hate this lumping together by age that lazy marketeers seem to do. Thankfully, this was the real insight from the session. Don’t categorise people by age. It’s about interests.

In the discussions, someone mentioned that in her group of friends in their early 50s there was a new mother, grandmother, entrepreneur, lawyer, etc. Totally different interests. Totally different markets. 

We did get to some interesting discussions about using imagery. Don’t fall for stereotypes. Use real people. And if you’re promoting travel, show some destinations - not pictures of people doing yoga on the beach. Great campaigns like Age Concerns #NotByMySelfie in 2015 or SunLife’s ‘Welcome to life after 50’ campaign gave us some inspiration.


It’s a Long Way to the Top if You Wanna Stop the Scroll

Gertie Goddard gave a great talk on how to create content that is worthy of someone’s time and attention in a competitive online space.




This is the content that gets engagement. Now sexy doesn’t necessarily mean muscles and pouts – beautiful high quality photography is a sure way to draw attention to a post. And something funny, can be more worth sharing, and showing to others.

VIDEO: It is hardwired into our brains to look for movement, video is an excellent way to get attention where appropriate. An interesting tip from Gertie, was to utilise graphic animations if you are a business without a physical product – for example, a law firm. 

Once we have got attention, we want to drive engagement. This can be achieved through giving the post meaning by sharing something relevant and current, or by building a fake persona for your target customer, and aligning all content towards them. By promoting engagement through likes, shares, and comments, you are leveraging the algorithm.

Finally, if you really want to get good engagement and visibility, you need to review your metrics. Look at which photos get the most likes, analyse the post that performed really poorly – was it the time of day, or was it a bad image?

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Social Media and Marketing Technology are rapidly evolving; there are so many tools and possibilities for communication. Ultimately it is imperative to really know your users in order to create engaging and relevant content. In the words of Seth Godin, “Seek your smallest viable audience - the core group that you understand & the people who want to hear from you.”

If you found this interesting, SMW are hosting a similar event in London in October. More info here: