Will Advert-Free Social Media Freeze Out Marketers?



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Anonymous social media platforms, such as Ello, have caused a furore among digital marketers. Does this herald a rejection of brand ‘engagement’ on social media, or simply a rejection of social media used as advertisement channel?

The Guardian newspaper (London) is putting the future of social media marketing under the microscope – and it wants to hear from YOU!

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Sign up to contribute questions to the live Q&A panel, which takes place online at 1pm – 2.30pm GMT on Thursday 27 November: click here

Topics for debate include:

How can marketers adapt to the rise of ad-free services such as Ello?

What do anonymous platforms mean for the use of targeted advertising?

How can marketers capitalise on the rise specialist networks such as Sportlobster and Tastebuds?

Does increased competition and diminishing organic reach from companies like Facebook mean that smaller companies could be priced out of social media advertising?

The Panel:

The expert panel is a salubrious line-up – and one that I am chuffed to be joining on Thursday; Sam Haseltine from Adobe, James Whatley from Ogilvy & Mather Advertising, Tom Goodwin from Tomorrow Group and (Social i Media client) Uriel Alvarado from Saxo Capital Markets.

Initial Thoughts:

I’m really excited to have been invited to join such a select group of true ‘thought leaders’ who are not afraid to challenge conventional thinking about social media and digital marketing.

I think that we are starting to see social media maturing; people are more sceptical about both the social media providers themselves and the way they want to use digital channels to communicate – with friends, with like-minded people, and with brands.

I think that too quickly social media has been co-opted by marketers as just another channel for broadcasting a sales message. This isn’t what we want for ourselves, so it shouldn’t be what we foist upon our customers. This should also prompt deeper questions about what ‘success’ on social media looks like. For marketers – and CEOs – it looks like making a sale.

The reality may be that social technologies offer a far broader array of business-related opportunities than simply hooking a consumer with content, reeling them in with offers and enticements, then netting a single sale.

It’s also about going back to basics and considering each social media platform on its own merits; marketers can’t afford to lump all social networks into one indistinguishable group, to take the same approach and use the same tone of voice across all platforms.

As humans, we are vary our own tone of voice and behaviour to different social settings and by gauging the atmosphere in that space while remaining authentic in those different scenarios; brands should keep this in mind when entering different digital social spaces.

I’m sure, as a fan of Social Media Week and a visitor to the SMW blog, you will have your own opinions, insights and perspectives. Please do join us to pose questions during the live Q&A on  Thursday 27 November or you can post questions ahead of the event: click here

I look forward to a challenging debate about what this all means for marketers and the role of social media in the broader marketing mix. I hope you can join us.

Anna Lawlor is a journalist, content creator and director of Social i Media. 

Anna has been a journalist for 15 years and most recently was commissioning editor of The Guardian’s Social Media Marketing series. As co-director of Social i Media – a boutique media communications agency in Cambridge and London – she helps brands communicate effectively across traditional and digital channels, in addition to producing journalistic content.

Get in touch via or on Twitter: @Little_Lawlor |@SocialiMediaUK

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