Kristen Fritz

As a first time Social Media Week attendee at this month’s New York City conference, I took away a lot of great information that I know is going to benefit Brafton’s social media team and our client strategies. I attended the event with my colleague, Social Media Manager Ty Scheiner, and we both agreed one of the biggest takeaways is that the social landscape changes by the minute.

After scouring through 11 pages of notes I took during the various events, here’s a recap of some of the most important concepts I learned at #SMWNYC.

“Marketers don’t own the brand, the consumer does.”

Coke + MentosAt the “New Rules for Consumer Engagement in the SoLoMo Revolution, Hosted by ICSC,” presented by Coca Cola executives Scott Ryan and Keith Berman, they used the Diet Coke + Mentos YouTube video as an excellent example of the power consumers have on brand awareness. The video was created by two consumers, who didn’t work for Coke and simply liked experimenting with everyday items. Coca-Cola had zero involvement in it, but once the video went viral (a true first example of a pure viral video) , Coca-Cola used the popularity to their advantage and created 26 million impressions. Consumers who saw the video created 120 million expressions impressions, sharing it among their friends.

Social media is not just about the placement of messages, it’s about the movement of stories. Coca-Cola understands that stories are currency. More brands should be in that mindset.

Expert tip: Think about ways to showcase the human interest around your products and services – even if it’s not always 100 percent promoting your goods commercially. Related: Capture user-generated content … which brings up my next #SMWNYC takeaway.

SOMOT (social moment of truth)

First there was the concept of the First Moment of Truth (FMOT), and later the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT). Now, the idea of the social moment of truth, or SOMOT, is that we consume content online from people we trust and groups we form. To be SOMOT worthy, the content published must be:

  • Participatory
  • Clear
  • Give instant gratification
  • Filtered
  • Now (in real time)

Social commerce is the norm now because brands have found ways to incorporate themselves into our lifestyles, and we often want to tell others about it because we think they can benefit just as much as we have. An awesome example from the presentation was Forever 21’s #F21XME hashtag. The hashtag tracks shoppers’ engagement with their products. Anytime Instagram users attach this hashtag to their selfies or outfits, Forever 21 curates the photos within a blog that also includes trending music playlists, contests, style tips, and celebrity looks.


The resulting blog is an excellent display of content that Forever 21’s target audience wants to see. Forever 21 generates so much free content from this hashtag that they’ve created galleries like “best shoe selfies” and “best baubles”. The brand even has special carts so visitors can easily view and buy the exact looks they see from fellow shoppers’ Instagrams.

Expert tip: Find ways to get user-generated content into your social (and broader media) mix. It saves you resources, and creates transparency buyers want in that SOMOT.

Social media is a “virtual water cooler” & has improved the way we tell stories.

Before digital took off, we used to just read things from a newspaper or magazine. Maybe we’d discuss them among family or friends afterward, but that was it. With social media you can extend the story because it’s so active among readers. Mobile has changed the landscape too, and now we’re forced to create clear, concise words that can be absorbed while on the go. What works in print can work in digital too, it just needs to be tweaked.

Expert tip: Use social media to keep the conversation going. Extend the shelf-life of your other marketing assets, and build interactions into your game plan to talk to customers at scale.


Another hot topic discussed at #SMWNYC was Google+ best practices, but frankly I think Ty Scheiner’s blog post covers it best. Check it out here.