Facebook and FLOTUS: Recapping the Spredfast Smart Social Summit

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  • October 26, 2017
  • Traci Mazurek

Each year, Spredfast, a social media marketing platform headquartered in Austin, hosts the Spredfast Smart Social Summit, a gathering of “the smartest in social” professionals from around the country. The conference is packed with networking opportunities, workshops, panels, solo sessions, insights from some of the biggest brands in social, and a big-name keynote speaker to tie everything together. This year’s keynote speaker?

Michelle. Freaking. Obama. That’s right – our former First Lady. But I’ll come back to her.

This year marked my fourth Summit and each year the sessions get better and better. This year, I attended sessions on chatbots, content strategy, product roadmap, and social data analysis (one of my favorite topics, if you’ve listened to Ep. 40 of the INK podcast).

Chatbots: Social Care Meets Artificial Intelligence

“Agents, Bots, and Where They Meet: The Next Iteration of Social Care” discussed the use of chatbots, specifically utilizing Facebook Messenger, as a social care tool. In a world where the average person spends five hours per day on their smartphone, Messenger bots are a way to scale social care to provide a 1×1 customer experience while alleviating some of the response time burden on care team members.

1.3B messages are sent via Messenger each month; 70M businesses are on Facebook, and 20M of those businesses are actively messaging with consumers. Through Messenger bots, consumers can book travel, track flights, find store locations, get answers to frequently asked questions, and more.

Chatbot functionality varies by brand, and can be fully automated or a hybrid of AI, automation, and human touch. StitchFix’s Messenger bot is fully automated, but they added an additional spin by gamifying Messenger, creating a game where customers are shown pieces of clothing and accessories, then vote on whether or not they like said piece. Their selections are then sent to their personal stylist, who uses these selections to further customize their Fixes. (Rachel Daily from StitchFix noted that they have customers who spend hours on the game in Messenger. I believe it – it’s addicting!)

Myers-Briggs, Facebook Reactions, and Angry Republicans: Digging Deeper into Social Data

One of my favorite speakers is Chris Kerns, Spredfast’s Vice President of Research & Insights. Spredfast’s research team spends their time digging into social data in order to uncover interesting trends and insights that allow brands across industries to better understand their audiences – how fun is that job?

Kerns kicked off his social data presentation by discussing how the adoption of Facebook reactions is going through the roof. While we, as social strategists, can measure likes, shares, etc. as indications of positive sentiment, Reactions is the first time we can more accurately see support of and negative sentiment toward branded content. He revealed that, according to their data, “Republicans receive more angry reactions on Facebook, while Democrats see more love reactions.” While it’s easy to take this at face value, it’s imperative that we look at the intent behind the message that is driving reactions; for Republicans, a higher number of angry reactions might be the emotion they want to evoke in their customer base. As Kerns put it, “To take advantage of emotion, you need to embrace the concept of intent.”

Another interesting trend is the recent embrace of the Myers-Briggs test by millennials, a trend that kicked off on Tinder. More and more millennials are listing their Myers-Briggs type in their Twitter profiles; examining these personality types and targeting content specifically to said types can result in more brand engagement and potentially positive sentiment.

And now – Michelle Obama!

FLOTUS’s conversation with Spredfast’s Chief Customer Officer, Virginia Miracle, tied into a recurring theme of this year’s summit – Social Good. As Carrie Sloan from Johnson & Johnson said, “When you operate a brand’s social channel, how can you be a force for good?” Meaning, rather than simply pushing your brand’s product or agenda, how can you positively impact someone’s life through your channels?

The session kicked off with Mrs. Obama talking about the importance of the arts and bringing them to young people, to “real people, not just fancy people,” and turned to the impact of social media in our society, but particularly the impact on young people. “Companies can’t pretend like what they do and say won’t affect the young people they’re trying to reach – companies have a responsibility [to take stands], plain and simple.”

She noted that social media is a “powerful tool,” and that “you have to be a real adult to use it responsibly,” and discussed how “words are a powerful way to hurt people, especially through the Internet.” (She also noted that it’s rare that the first thing that pops into your head should be posted onto social media – duly noted!) These tools are handed over to kids with the assumption that they’ll know how to use it responsibly. “At the very end, all we can do is talk about values. When they don’t use those tools responsibly, we as parents are there to correct them and give them boundaries.”

She briefly gave advice on building trust and leadership as someone with authority: “Operate with empathy. Empathy is lacking across the board” and that “real, good leaders operate from a place of truth. All of us, we’re human beings just trying to move our lives forward. Think about people as real people. Leadership works best when it’s positive and not fear-based.”

When asked about “alternative facts,” she called out the importance of education, namely that “you can’t be a passive information gatherer; young people have to ferret out other sides, have to be readers, have to educate [them]selves and know [their] history.”

Finally, she gave some words of wisdom:

  • “Talk to people who aren’t like you, don’t just tweet, are you only surrounding yourself with people like you? Have diversity around your table.”
  • “Find a mentor, don’t feel like you have to do it alone. Build a community for yourself to support you.”
  • “Don’t be afraid of your unique voice, don’t doubt that you belong there. Don’t soften your voice. I mean don’t get fired! But find a way to have a voice.”

I’m so thankful to INK for sending me to Summit this year and giving me the opportunity to network with other social and digital strategists – and to hear one of my role models speak in person! Can’t wait to see who speaks next year; perhaps, oh, this guy, who certainly has some free time now?

For more information about Spredfast Smart Social Summit, visit https://www.spredfast.com/summit/.