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Digital DNA 2019- 'Social Media and the Revolution'

Posted 26th Jun, 2019

Laura Duffy

Laura Duffy Sales & Marketing Assistant

Digital DNA powered by PwC, took place on 18 & 19 June 2019 in St George’s Market. I was 1 of 3000+ people who attended the event across 2 days to hear from industry experts. We also had the chance to network with each other and meet exhibitors all under one roof. The 8 key themes of this year’s event were marketing, data, fintech, cyber security, innovation, devops, tech for good and start-ups. This session focused on ‘Social Media and the Revolution’ and was delivered by Jerry Staple, Co-founder of Origin Digital.

We have seen advertising evolve over time, traditional advertising including TV, radio and print have slowly started to decrease as we have seen a phenomenal growth in digital marketing and advertising. Although we still see a lot of traditional advertising, Gary Vaynerchuk said, “If you’re still spending money on billboards and print ads in 2019, your business deserves to die”- a little harsh but true in some ways when you look at the revolution of digital technology and social media platforms. This session also reviewed how social media has become a place where influencers are credible sources of WOM and ambassadors for numerous brands.

Jerry Staple, Co-Founder of Origin Digital, said:

It was 2000 when we entered a reality revolution were watching people was far more interesting than watching scripted content.

It is interesting to learn how digital technology and social media platforms have evolved, in 2000 one of the UK’s first social networks was ‘Friends Reunited’, which was bought by ITV for £175 million. It failed to keep the pace with other social networks that followed including Myspace (2003) and Facebook (2004). An industry game-changer came in 2006 when Sky launched the functionality for viewers to fast-forward adverts in pre-recorded programmes. Other social channels such as YouTube, Bebo and Twitter continued to mature, especially when the smartphone revolution began in 2007 with the launch of the iPhone. TV started to become a ‘second screen experience’ rather than first screen because we were spending so much time on our phones whilst ‘watching’ TV. I personally can’t remember the last time a TV advert influenced me to buy a product, I get all the information I need online, especially on social media.

When the recession hit, consumer spending decreased and there was a shift from personal consumption and the cumulation of materials to sharing experiences. People started becoming brands and short form content (images and videos) were becoming more appealing, which communicated emotions that increased engagement with likes and comments. One platform that capitalised on this trend was Instagram, which launched in 2010 and allowed users to share these experiences with their followers.

There is no doubt that there is a lot of noise on social media and your message can sometimes get lost amongst all the other news your target audience see on their feeds. Jerry spoke about the importance of a documented content strategy, particularly when posting organic content, and that it is reviewed and amended daily.

Emotion is the key driver for sharing content. At ICC Belfast we love to capture and showcase the stories and experiences of clients who have come from near and far to Belfast and our venue. We’re also not shy about shouting from the rooftops that we’re relentless in the pursuit of our goals; winning and delivering world-class conferences and events that deliver economic impact for the City of Belfast. We work collaboratively with partners to sell Belfast as a unique, vibrant and flourishing business tourism destination that delivers for the city socially, culturally and economically and our content is absolutely key to this.


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