Digital Comms Conference

This was one of the best conferences I’ve been to in a while, really inspiring examples and speakers, even of things we know and do already:

Open panel:

  • There was a nice debate on the ethics of hijacking
  • The panel agreed it was fine for charities to do it
  • WaterAid deal with hard to engage subjects (like toilets) so they pick an audience and take risks that are a bit harder to get management approval for (toilet themed days, etc)
  • Audience participation poll showed 60% had a crisis communications plan but only 25% had a ‘when things go really well’ plan
  • Book recommendation – Contagious

Teenage cancer trust:

  • Why do things go viral?
  • Social currency
  • Triggers
  • Emotion
  • Public domain
  • Practical value
  • Stories
  • Celebrity pick-up
  • They stuck to their principles when amplifying Stephen’s fundraising “It’s his story, not ours”
  • Thunderclap to celebrate his life reached 6.5 million people
  • They set out 5 principles they would stick to during this period:
  • Young people at the heart
  • Never say it was their story, always Stephen’s
  • Amplification was their role
  • Keep everyone feeling appreciated – to support people who couldn’t fundraise that well, celebrated their other supporters at that time
  • Just Giving gave a donation because he broke all their records
  • They couldn’t have sustained the traffic on their site so needed JG
  • They are now ready just in case it happens again
  • Currently celebrating his one year on anniversary – no fundraising asks
  • They had a 55% increase in their FB likes over the period
  • People started to ask more about him and where the money would go – they massively improved their web content to cope with questions

Cancer Research:

  • More on hijacking – Salvation Army’s #TheDress highlighted
  • Main talk on the no makeup selfie and why it went viral:
  • Social currency, people want to say where they fit into the campaign, show how involved they are with that trend
  • 1m selfies shared every day
  • Right place right time
  • Made £8m in one week
  • Their out of hours team spotted the tweets and put out a message saying they didn’t start it but if people wanted to find out more about CRUK, link to the website
  • They got a lot of pressure from people asking them what it was for, so decide to jump on it
  • They sent out the “we love your selfie ” tweet with the donation ask – they didn’t get any sign off, just seized the moment
  • They had to react every time it changed, e.g. Men doing a makeup selfie
  • Said thank you all the way along
  • Kept all their comms consistent all the way through, e.g. The woman in the office who did the first tweet
  • They needed to say where the money was tangibly going – quickly pulled together the clinical trial details
  • They had 1000% increase in FB likes
  • They tapped into all the people who’d texted to find out that they were almost 100% new
  • 100% increase in race for life entries
  • They got some backlash about it being vain and nothing to do with cancer but had a clear response – it wasn’t their idea, they weren’t trying to own it, it’s there if people want to do it
  • She stressed the importance of going with your gut, but also doing a sense check with people you trust
  • Remember to get your legal team on side early
  • Nomination thing really drove it
  • She called it ‘the campaign that kept on giving’ – WWF etc got donations from it too
  • Learnings – people are willing to donate on social
  • Stories work
  • Make decisions quickly
  • If it fits with your brand, do it
  • Amplify, amplify, amplify
  • Be ready, get a text to donate code etc
  • Be prepared for the expected and the unexpected

Marie curie:

  • They have a surprisingly big digital team, including separate UX people
  • They have a scrum team and use agile for web dev
  • She has a team of 25, creative team are separate, front end and ux are separate
  • They use Dam Digital to coordinate everything
  • “You want to use an agency who will challenge you”
  • “Don’t give up in persuading internal people down the right path”
  • Her recipe for good digital:
  • Responsive site
  • Clean data
  • User centric approach
  • Accurate analytics
  • Skills and resources
  • Effective standalone channel mix
  • Audience insight / segmentation
  • Great content
  • Personalisation
  • Automation
  • Conversion rate and optimisation
  • Multivariate testing
  • Integrated marketing strategy
  • Engaged supporters
  • Algorithmic learning
  • Seamless experience cross device
  • New technologies
  • Brand advocates

King’s college London:

  • Put themselves on the platforms their international student base were using
  • Student recruitment is like fundraising for them
  • They use Wevo, Skype etc
  • Had a 200k bump in applicants since they implemented their digital strategy
  • Could offer a personal service by responding to people’s individual questions via social
  • Informal tactics

Community manager at brandwatch:

  • Influencers sentiment and realtime analysis
  • The world’s best social data
  • 98% satisfaction rate
  • Social listening
  • Crawl, store and index, analyze, present, act
  • Sentiment, date and time, topics
  • Comic relief use them
  • Work with them on social strategy
  • Brandwatch allowed them to track what their audience we’re doing on other channels, on their own pages etc
  • Saw who the influencers were
  • New direction in trends
  • New things popping up
  • Able to respond and react as topics changed and evolved, e.g. #nodirection
  • Able to see the impact as it happened
  • Demographic splits
  • Traffic spikes and changes
  • Able to pitch everything they knew each segment of their audience wanted
  • Used Zoella
  • Tweaked messaging according to changes
  • This was a record breaking year – they put a lot down to Brandwatch

Shelter:

  • Trust your team
  • Use Tinder
  • Be prepared to move quickly
  • Come up with new ideas all the time
  • Quick sign-off process
  • Very brave tweet saying they won’t take donations from dappalaughs (they even mentioned him)
  • Had huge organic reach from it
  • His TV interview got cancelled
  • “Variety does not equal creativity”
  • They do content planning brainstorming regularly
  • Hard to reach audience e.g. Middle England – they appealed on the basis of “is this the last house your kids will ever own?” Play house
  • Played on ‘Bank of mum and dad’ theme
  • They amplified ideas from supporters
  • They come up with creative ways of telling the same stories on repeat
  • They tapped into the “don’t get it” crowd- very simple messaging
  • Plaudits are not the same as impact
  • Tailored to their local area – how many people in your area woke up homeless
  • Divide asks by time – 1 minute do this, 5 minutes, do this – actually has an upselling effect, e.g. Hive Energy
  • Testing
  • Myth busting actually doesn’t work – people remember the myth because it’s more interesting than the fact
  • The research company also found a campaign against litter picking which showed their campaign had a negative effect – people thought “oh, well if everyone else is dropping it, so will I.”
  • Use PostIts for content planning
  • Do a lot of user testing and focus groups – are interested in the language people use and how they can integrate that into their comms
  • They talk about the things that failed as well as the things that worked and celebrate both equally

Age uk:

  • Challenging the stereotypes of how people view older people
  • People are people
  • Love later life – one of my favourite things
  • They found people who run marathons in their 80s, etc
  • Making people feel something is why content works
  • They went for the positive emotion
  • 10, 4, 1 rule for content- relate to their audience but not in their interests
  • They’re the largest volunteer charity in the UK
  • Love your evergreen content
  • 80% of traffic comes from 20% of web content
  • Get the right celebrities, the wrong ones and you’ll know about it
  • Recycle old content in new ways, but also in old ways too
  • Use supporters’ names when you’re talking to them and use your own name when you sign off
  • The science of reciprocity
  • Provoke an emotion in people to get engagement
  • Tailor content to different platforms
  • Give something back
  • Google everything to stay on top of what’s happening in the wider context for your audience
  • They try and get people online to address the issue of their audience sometimes not being very digital
  • They use a lot of joined up offline/ direct marketing comms too but want to move more to digital
  • Someone asked whether social is worth it for their bottom line – they didn’t really answer the question but I would probably have talked about payments in social platforms
  • Long-term gain
  • Later conversions
  • Community building
  • Trust building
  • Brand loyalty

UX – Jo Kerr

  • Audience vote on why they don’t do ux well:
  • #1 reason was blocks from internal teams
  • Running user testing – she does it the same way as we’ve done recently which is good!
  • Set them scenarios
  • Watch where they click
  • Ask follow-up questions
  • Tell them what it is if they couldn’t find it to find out what stopped them clicking there
  • Use your family and friends
  • Use focus groups to develop personas too
  • Looking at how people move from one persona to another and how they can facilitate that – goal setting 64% of their traffic is organic arch
  • Join up your data
  • Checklists on every bit of content or every new web page- make sure you’ve covered all the things you need for a good engaging piece / good ux, SEO, you’re asking editors the important “have you thought about this” questions etc
  • Removing barriers internally to doing things right
  • Digital leadership – the balance of trusting your team and having clear parameters

British council:

  • They use and love Drupal
  • Consistent branding
  • Responsive site
  • User centred
  • User tesing- their stakeholders do the recruiting of them, which is interesting
  • They use social listening tools too
  • Also use personas
  • Codesign customer journey mapping and set up innovation labs with young people
  • Someone asked an interesting question about how they prioritise the data that comes out of user testing sessions and focus groups – the answer was 3 years and 5 teams!
  • Question about managing internal pressure (e.g. Homepage space) “very hard, lots of arguments, but users come first”
  • They have digital champions per region
  • They used to have sub domains for each country, but now have individual websites for each country, massive dip initially but ultimately a better user experience and good for local SEO

Email:

  • Email always outperforms social in conversion terms
  • 77% want marketing via email
  • Trust and healthy relationship
  • Good welcome series
  • The first few emails are crucial to building trust
  • Always do a plain text alternative to the html email
  • Short text, short urls
  • Clear CTAs
  • Her tips for the best open rates:
  • One clear purpose per email
  • Time of day and frequency matter
  • Research your audience and adapt
  • 48% are opened on mobile
  • Mobile users spend less time on the email
  • Personalisation
  • Extend your brand to your email – signature style
  • Keep it simple
  • Not the place for an embedded film (lol)
  • Don’t rely on banner images – if your key message is in there it might be missed
  • Good alt text can get around it
  • Valuable subject lines and headers
  • Accurate indication of the content
  • Links high
  • Plugins for social
  • Unsubscribe links, very simple
  • They use Campaign Monitor
  • Everything should promote everything else

Scouts association:

  • User voice
  • Again used his family as friends for campaigning
  • They are trying to change stereotypes about scouting
  • They score low in propensity to support
  • But 40,000 people waiting to join who they can’t sign up because they don’t have enough adult volunteers
  • Made their biggest promotional film just on a smartphone
  • His son doing a voiceover with a slideshow of his drawings
  • Got really widely shared and endorsed by Bear Grylls
  • Cost him a cream egg to get his son to do it
  • Won Third Sector digital campaign of the week
  • Represent different parts of the UK – tailored local content
  • Made a video where cubs asked each other questions so it looked completely user lead
  • Then put their voices over the top of Lego characters <£2k to make
  • They timed it to come out at the same time as the Lego movie so they could jump on the back of that
  • Then did a nice film with the parent of an autistic child
  • She became a volunteer after the scouts had helped her and her family
  • Lovely interviews with the son about what being part of the scouts meant to him
  • Made it really authentically , not too perfect
  • Filmed the family in their own local area
  • Good idea is better than a big budget
  • Good call to action

Oxfam:

  • Their comms cal has input from every team in the org
  • They colour code it by priority content
  • They leave reactive space
  • “Every interaction is a brand experience “
  • They map everything to a persona map before they put it out
  • Message house with one overriding message everyone must always come back to
  • Interruptive tactics, storytelling, video
  • They do all their paid search work in-house
  • They test and adjust throughout a campaign and change accordingly using in-house testers for this
  • They did some pure engagement stuff around Gaza “RT to join our call for #ceasefirenow” with no link
  • They wanted to use stories but obviously couldn’t get them
  • 10k RTs is their all-time Twitter record
  • 5 million Facebook reach is their all-time Facebook record (wahoo – 8.2 million for us!)
  • Tapped into festival season with “Let’s make a song and dance about poverty”
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